IBM and CA Technologies team up to help give mainframe a cloudy edge

They are two companies who have spent more time espousing the benefits of the mainframe than most – and now IBM and CA Technologies have forged a new partnership designed to make the technology more accessible in a cloud and DevOps landscape.

The collaboration will see new services being launched to help organisations develop, test, and monitor applications in the mainframe. The services will be available on IBM’s Cloud Managed Services on zSystems, otherwise known as zCloud.

Clients using zCloud can now take advantage of four new services: CA Brightside, which aids in developing applications for the mainframe using existing open source tools and frameworks; CA Service Virtualization, which focuses on rapidly testing and modifying applications already in place; CA Mainframe Operational Intelligence, for monitoring applications in the cloud; and CA Data Content Discovery for data protection to assist with compliance regulations.

According to a blog post from the two companies, almost 80% of all enterprise data is managed on the mainframe, while more than 90% of the world’s top 100 banks house data on there. While many column inches over the years have opined on the death of the mainframe, many others have issued a rebuttal. The IBM and CA partnership can certainly be put into the latter category.

“Through this strategic relationship, the companies are architecting new and innovative ways to enable clients to develop, run and manage mainframe applications in the cloud,” wrote Phil Guido, IBM general manager of GTS infrastructure services and Greg Lotko, CA general manager of mainframe systems. “Our clients can now quickly access development, testing, application management and regulatory compliance services to deliver operational resiliency, efficiencies, and workforce agility that their businesses require.”

As is expected with such announcements, a customer or two gets rolled out to reveal the benefits of the collaboration. In this instance, Anthem, a US healthcare provider, was chosen, with Tim Skeen, Anthem CIO, saying the new service ‘demonstrates a real possibility for us to deliver new innovations and features faster and securely through a true cloud experience for the mainframe.’

Writing for this publication in 2016, Christopher O’Malley, CEO of Compuware – admittedly no friend of CA or IBM – discussed the importance of breaking down barriers in order to integrate the mainframe into mainstream DevOps and multi-platform IT environments.

“In order to encourage their acceptance of it, agile developers working in modern multi-platform environments need to realise that DevOps teams are only as strong as their weakest link,” wrote O’Malley. “Since mainframe code provides a huge chunk of the digital DNA that defines how the business runs, it’s impossible to turn DevOps into a true competitive advantage if that one mainframe element sits in isolation.

“It’s therefore in everyone’s best interests to bring the mainframe into the fold of mainstream IT.”

Picture credit: IBM