“Mainframe-agility”: Bringing DevOps Practices to Db2z

The IBM Z platform processes 30 billion transactions per day and handles 87% of ATM transactions and over 4 billion passenger flights a year as detailed in this IBM Z platform press release. A business-critical platform such as this needs to support agile delivery of applications while supporting application developers, system and database administrators across the development and operations (DevOps) lifecycle.

The recently announced IBM Db2 DevOps Experience for z/OS, V1.1 delivers a role-based tool to implement DevOps practices for application deployments that use Db2 data on IBM Z.

The aim of this offering is to help organizations bring Db2 applications to market more rapidly, with less risk and at a lower operational cost. It can help connect people, processes, and automation in an integrated and collaborative way. One of the benefits of using the Db2 DevOps Experience is that it helps development teams to implement DevOps practices by automating and standardizing tasks while administrators can help ensure that company standards and business rules are protected.

The IBM Db2 DevOps Experience adds a focus on continuous improvement with greater flexibility, automation, and depth across the development and deployment life cycle. This can allow teams to focus on improving quality of tasks, processes, and decisions that support and enhance customer and user experiences.

Empowering Application Developers

Db2 DevOps Experience helps developers accustomed to agile methodologies to work in Db2 environments without necessarily having prior mainframe skills. For mainframe developers, some creative processes seemed impossible, given the infrastructure and lack of available provisioning tools. This offering can help clients address those tasks more efficiently and more easily through intuitive graphical user interfaces — as shown in figure #1. As a result, companies should be able to more easily adapt to changing markets, innovate faster, and meet strategic corporate goals.

Figure #1: Example of a view an application developer may see when provisioning a database environment

Available environments for development are defined by administrators according to applications and teams. Developers can select the application that they will be working on, either individually or with a team of other development types of users. They then select that application to be provisioned into a Db2 environment associated with the application for development. The application is placed under version control. This feature provides versioning and source control of object sets with Data Definition Language (DDL) in a management system that includes a history of changes.

A consolidated source control mechanism for database schemas enables users to make changes and revert to a prior version if any issues are detected. It also allows a user to test multiple combinations of changes prior to committing the necessary version. This feature also enables a team of developers to work collaboratively with other developers, merging changes as they are approved. Application environments can also be de-provisioned without administrative assistance.

Cognitive Admin Capabilities

The database administrator is responsible for maintaining control and security over the Db2 databases and applications. One of the important functions for the database administrator is the ability to create and link together teams, environments and permissions. Using cognitive capabilities, the application discovery feature identifies schema application components.

The administrator can filter and select items to be grouped as part of an object selection. Often, existing applications lack documentation to identify the correct schema needed to update an application. The ability to visually discover and select objects, combined with search and filtering capabilities, can help improve accuracy and efficiency of schema discovery.

Continuous Integration and Delivery Practices for Db2

Db2 DevOps Experience can help enable developers and operations teams to synchronize processes. Db2 DevOps Experience brings Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices to Db2 on z/OS, supporting faster development, testing, and integration of application changes through automation and standardization. Db2 DevOps Experience can also help in the early detection of errors, potentially leading to quicker fixes and preventing delays because the code is maintained in a releasable state. It provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to help automate the process via CI/CD tools such as Urban Code Deploy (UCD), Jenkins, Bamboo and others.

Db2 DevOps Experience is built on Zowe, an open source project by the Open Mainframe Project of which IBM is a contributor and is comprised of four core components:

  • A native and extensible z/OS web user interface
  • A scriptable command line for z/OS services
  • Extensions to the native z/OS REST APIs and API Mediation Layer
  • A REST API catalog that includes access security technology

Summary and Next Steps

The IBM Db2 DevOps Experience for z/OS offers the following features and benefits:

  • Application development that can prepare and remove Db2 for Z test environments without requiring mainframe knowledge
  • Cognitive discovery capabilities to identify schema application components
  • Intelligent Data Definition Language (DDL) editor that prevents coding unauthorized changes to save time and resources
  • Role-based system for administrators to create teams, environments, and permissions with review and approval of database change requests
  • Integration of database schema management into existing Continuous Delivery processes
  • Brings Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery practices to Db2 on z/OS environments to empower faster development, testing, and integration of application changes that include database modifications through automation and standardization

To learn more about this offering and other IBM DB2 tools, visit:

https://www.ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/db2-devops-experience

Steven Astorino,
 VP of Development, Hybrid Cloud, z Analytics and Canada Lab Director
 IBM Analytics

Follow me: @astorino_steven