By: Paul Spicer, lead product manager for BMC’s zSolutions
A growing number of people are now familiar with IBM z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) and how it is used by systems programmers to manage IBM z/OS. Many now use it in their day-to-day jobs.
z/OSMF can simplify general management tasks, software installation, configuration, and maintenance of IBM and ISV z/OS software products. A major aspect of z/OSMF is the ability to run workflows which consist of one or more steps to perform specific tasks (e.g. Migrating to a new release of z/OS, configuring a vendor product, etc.)
Workflows are provided by IBM, other independent software vendors, and can also be created by Users to perform tasks specific to their environment, often, to make it easier for other less experienced users to perform a task.
Anyone who has created workflows will know they are XML files that can be created/edited using the z/OSMF Workflow Editor. As workflows get longer and more complex, managing them can become challenging with no easy way to maintain individual workflow steps and no ability to divide a workflow so multiple people can work on it. Testing can also be time-consuming, particularly when Velocity scripts are involved.
These challenges led BMC to develop a workflow builder that assembles a z/OSMF workflow from individual step templates, with conditional logic that largely eliminates the need to code Velocity scripts. This enables multiple developers to work on a workflow and be responsible for their own steps. It also significantly simplifies testing and ongoing workflow management.
As we spoke to other vendors and customers, it became clear that they also needed an easier way to build and manage workflows. With the increased use of open-source software on the mainframe, especially with the emergence and growing adoption of the Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe, BMC decided to make Workflow WiZard available under Zowe so everyone could benefit from the capability and have the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing development.
With Workflow WiZard now incubating under the Zowe project, we’re confident it will make the jobs of developers and systems programmers easier, and that with further iteration from the Zowe community, its capabilities will improve well into the future.