Understanding the difference between Legacy and Heritage will have impact on business decisions!
The past decade has witnessed the Mainframe application development space evolve to embrace Agile, Lean and DevOps methodologies to prove that those are not just buzzwords and moreover not just for born-on-the-web companies or Unicorns. The key part of that evolution is to understand that the transformation from the age-old practice of “water fall” to lean, agile methodology is a journey aimed at continuous improvement while taking into account the day-to-day realities of cost optimization and finding ways to do more with less — in other words, to optimize business efficiency.
With that context, as a techy, it’s frustrating when I hear statements like “as an organization, you need to replace your tools because they are legacy.” I feel the focus should be on evaluating whether the tool is evolving to keep up with the market and technological trends or maintaining status-quo.
Before going further, understanding the difference between Legacy and Heritage is important. Legacy is something that you leave behind. It keeps you in the past. Heritage is something you inherit to build for the future. Not understanding the difference between the two can lead to wrong business decisions.
The reality of the mainframe space is that many tools, including the mainframe platform itself, are branded “legacy” purely because they existed for a very long time. The reality is that the mainframe as a platform has been evolving and continues to re-invent itself in all aspects including hardware, software, and pricing. Following the cue, mainframe tools and applications (e.g REST enabling a legacy COBOL CICS transaction) have been evolving as well. By not maintaining the status-quo, the mainframe ecosystem is looking to the future. Organizations are embracing mainframe as the heritage and are experiencing growth in mainframe usage while continuing to take advantage of the unique “ilities” of security, scalability, reliability and availability.
Having established that mainframe is indeed a heritage platform, let’s explore key market-leading tools in the Mainframe DevOps space. Take CA Endevor for example, a key part of the Mainframe DevOps foundation. Is CA Endevor considered legacy or is it a true Enterprise SCM that support modern tools, workflows and processes – a heritage to help build the future?
CA Endevor is a mainframe SCM with source version control, build, deploy, and audit/traceability capabilities that has no match – an indication of its market share. Yes, its core functions were targeted and optimized to handle mainframe artifacts like the 8-character names and different record lengths to start with. But like the mainframe platform, CA Endevor evolved:
- to handle the camel case, greater than 8-character Java and other distributed sources and treat them as first-class citizens and hence be the single repository for all Enterprise artifacts
- to provide mainframe users the flexibility to do parallel development in addition to the traditional pessimistic locking approach that it started off with.
- to support a Git as the front end to work with Endevor artifacts. For developers who are familiar and like to work in a Git environment, they can work with CA Endevor artifacts in Git without knowing they are interfacing with CA Endevor. at the same time it provides organizations with support for Enterprise Git repositories like GitHub and Bitbucket. The best part is – there is no migration and no requirement of having additional tools to manage the mainframe builds.
- to integrate with Jenkins or any other pipeline management tool the organization uses to manage their CI/CD process. It does not tie the organization into a specific IDE or technology solution – allowing organizations to have consistent tooling and processes across the board.
- to leverage Zowe (www.zowe.org), the first open source project on zOS. Exposing REST Interfaces in Zowe API Mediation Layer, and providing CLI in Zowe CLI which opens up automation opportunities beyond imagination.
So should CA Endevor be considered as legacy and be replaced with something new? My answer is a simple but emphatic no! Given the level of investment in CA Endevor and its constant evolution, there are no business reasons or technical benefits to replacing CA Endevor with any other SCM solution considering the cost, risk and distraction of doing so. CA Endevor leads to success and efficiency in your business and is well worth the investment. Continue to leverage the CA Endevor heritage!