3 Tips for Adoption of Zowe in the Enterprise
Zowe is the most exciting innovation in the world of Mainframe today. It started as a collaboration among three major vendors in the Enterprise space — Broadcom, IBM, and Rocket Software. Since its introduction last year, other vendors and individual developers have joined the project as contributors.
Zowe is a framework that exposes z/OS to the rest of the internal systems in a consistent and modern way. It provides:
- API Mediation Layer (Microgateway)
- Command Line Interface
- Web desktop
Given its purpose, Zowe provides a lot of value to organizations who invest in z/OS and who work on end-to-end integration with middleware, mobile, and other business systems. Consequently, Zowe adopters are large organizations with established processes and organizational structure.
Adopting *anything* in a complex Enterprise environment is a challenging task.
Over the past year and a half, I have worked with several market-leading Enterprises on the adoption of Zowe technology. Here are the three tips from these early engagements that will help make Zowe adoption in your organization more successful:
1. Have an Adoption Plan
Modernization of development infrastructure, new interfaces, and automation for business-critical services and applications is a team sport. Many different teams and groups in the organization will be affected by the change and will have the opportunity to innovate faster.
Some people will oppose change; others will want to manage any risk associated with it. Adopting Zowe is no different than any other major enterprise-wide deployment.
To help navigate the process and different stakeholders, you need to have a clear vision of how success looks and clarify scope for initial projects and evaluations. Be prepared to explain the value and address concerns many times over.
Here is a link to an example adoption template with key personas and milestones for the extension of DevOps processes use case and best practices from distributed development to the Mainframe with the help of Zowe:
You can download the Adoption Blueprint template here: Link
2. Set up a Hands-on Workshop
Zowe invites change. It challenges established workflows. Our desire to change leads to questions and sometimes invites skepticism.
The best way to navigate the almost inevitable concerns is to write some automation code together and experience the change first-hand.
Initially, at Broadcom, we started experimenting with the workshop with our internal teams who are not familiar with Zowe. Some of the engineers had DevOps experience with distributed systems; others were more comfortable with traditional Mainframe development tools.
Coincidentally, in the very first workshop we had a DevOps expert the product owner who put the tasks together and a mainframe expert. The questions soon started: “Why did you do it *this* way, when you could have done it *that* way”? What happened next was the magic of learning for all of us participating.
Since then, we formalized the workshop content and introduced it to over a dozen other organizations with similar results.
Here is a snapshot of the morning of day 2 of the Zowe DevOps workshop:
3. Invest in Enterprise Support for Zowe
Contrary to popular belief, open-source does not mean “free software.”
When adopting any software as a part of your development and business process, correct functioning always costs time, or money, or both. Here is what you can expect after your first quick win:
- Each new application will be a little different; each project may introduce new tools to automate.
- People you work with will have different expectations.
- Automation will fail in specific scenarios. You may discover bugs and early adopters in your organization will look to you for help.
- New teams will need training, and you will want to know that they completed it.
- Other teams may not be convinced, and they will need an extra workshop for their specific application and their environment.
Instead of tackling all the new challenges that go along with successful adoption, you should consider investing in Enterprise Support for Zowe like the CA Brightside offering from Broadcom.
One of the benefits of the support offering that is not always obvious is direct access to developers who are also the main contributors to the open-source project.
A support offering is a way to expand the available resources and expertise to help you address the challenges that will come your way. Offloading some of the work will free you up to invest more time to share your work with other community members which is the whole point of open source.
What is your experience with introducing new software tools to Enterprise environments? Please post your comments and feedback below, or DM me @gbegicw.