Git and the Modern Mainframe
Version control is the foundation of software development, which explains why Git tools like GitHub and GitLab have quickly become comprehensive AppDev platforms. It also explains why their mainframe predecessors like Panvalet, Librarian and the most widely-used of all, Endevor, experienced similar evolutions long ago.
Fun Fact: Endevor was DevOps long before “DevOps” existed: ENvironment for DEVelopment and OpeRations.
While these mainframe platforms continue to serve the evolving needs of their users, there are several reasons why teams should consider adopting Git. Here are the top three:
Recruiting & Retention
Git is a prerequisite for most AppDev roles outside of mainframe, so keeping current is appealing for next-gens. The collaborative Git model, born from the massively open sourced development of Linux, is the fabric of modern development so both developers and hiring managers value hands-on Git expertise. In addition to improving recruiting and retention, providing a Git option also accelerates onboarding.
Enterprise DevOps pipelines are typically built around Git-hosted code so maintaining code in Git repos streamlines AppDev. For example, code scanning is easy with pipelines pointing to Git. Also, contemporary IDEs like VS Code have built-in Git capabilities that make their use seamless for modern developers.
Hosting code in Git clears the path for enterprise developers, when authorized, to extend cross-platform applications to mainframe data and services. As APIs and microservices become commonplace, the division between “mainframe applications” and “cloud/mobile” applications becomes blurry. Enabling cloud-native developers is a key value proposition for the long-term vitality of the platform, especially with the new z16’s embedded AI acceleration capabilities.
IDC’s Research Vice President for Software Development, Arnal Dayaratna, published an Infobrief on the opportunity, “Git for Mainframe: Considerations for Enterprises” [download]. He states,
Organizations that use mainframes need to adopt
a hybrid approach to software configuration
management by supplementing their use of traditional
mainframe software configuration management tools
To realize the value, there are two primary options for adopting Git for mainframe:
Hybrid Git Experience
For Endevor users wanting to introduce a Git experience without the risks of migrating code and disrupting existing workflows, Bridge for Git is the solution. It accomplishes this by synchronizing a ‘source control mirror’ on the Git enterprise server to enable both Git access and native-Endevor access at the same time (see Bridge for Git whitepaper for a thorough explanation). A robust VS Code extension for Bridge for Git is also available.
Because risk management is a top priority for most mainframe teams, Broadcom recommends a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to adoption that introduces Git while minimizing disruption to existing workflows. Enable those who prefer to use Git to do so while maintaining the productivity of career mainframers who prefer to use existing SCM solutions (i.e., modernize-in-place). Concurrently, enable career mainframers unfamiliar with Git to learn it and become partners. The key to success with Git adoption is to recognize it is a journey for the organization requiring a plan.
Many organizations struggle with the decision to introduce Git version control for z/OS applications as part of their modernization efforts. For this reason, Broadcom’s Git advisors are ready to discuss your specific needs/concerns— don’t hesitate to reach out.