Performance management firm Compuware yesterday announced some enhancements to its application performance management technologies aimed at the mainframe. But perhaps just as interesting was what Compuware is seeing amongst its mainframe customer base - saying that a surge in mobile banking and e-commerce has changed mainframe workloads.
The firm said it believes the role of the mainframe underpinning the likes of e-commerce means that enterprise IT is under pressure to integrate new cloud and mobile applications with legacy mainframe applications at a record pace while ensuring quality and performance.
"Mainframe applications power the top retailers, banks, insurance companies, telecommunications and manufacturing companies worldwide. At the same time, as experienced developers retire, fewer developers are acquiring the mainframe skills needed to maintain these complex applications. This puts enterprises at significant risk for financial losses," said Kris Manery, SVP and general manager, Mainframe Solutions Business Unit, Compuware. "It's never been more important to have the tools and people in place to ensure mainframe applications deliver superior quality and performance."
Compuware also suggested that there is a skills shortage in the mainframe space, citing recent independent research into mainframe use by Vanson Bourne which found that 71% of CIOs are concerned that the looming mainframe skills shortage will hurt their business (see also CBR's recent investigation into the skills crisis).
"Mainframe usage continues to increase with the addition of new customer-facing applications - often connected to the Web and mobile devices - plus growth in existing workloads," said Tim Grieser, program vice president, Enterprise System Management Software, IDC. "This growth is producing sizable increases in MIPS consumption and in deployed application complexity. Compuware's modernised mainframe tools can help enterprises address their mainframe skills requirements needed to develop, maintain, extend and manage the performance of these increasingly business-critical applications."
At any rate Compuware announced enhancements to its Workbench, including the addition of easy access to MVS data with browse and edit capabilities. There are said to be enhanced debugging capabilities, as well as improvements to the diagnostic capabilities of Xpediter. The firm also made improvements to the Abend-AID fault resolution tool with more diagnostics and COBOL PERFORM trace, consolidated displays of IMS and DB2 data to speed access to crucial information, and easier access to Abend-AID reports.
Compuware also tweaked its mainframe performance management tool, Strobe 4.3.
Taking these enhancements together, the firm said, has the potential to reduce mainframe-related risk, speed application development and fault finding and help firms enhance the productivity of staff monitoring, extending and optimising the mainframe.