Compuware Corporation, the world’s leading mainframe-dedicated software company, today delivered the year’s fourth major release of Topaz–an innovative solution suite that uniquely empowers enterprise customers to tap the full potential business value of their IBM z Systems environments.
This latest release features Topaz Runtime Visualizer (Topaz RV), which provides unprecedented visibility into the often-complex interactions between mainframe programs. This visibility makes it dramatically easier for veteran and novice developers alike to quickly understand, modify and troubleshoot even the oldest, most complex and/or poorly documented mainframe code.
Topaz RV’s capabilities are extraordinarily valuable to companies as they face the challenge of more frequently updating their business-critical mainframe applications in response to ever-changing business requirements. Without Topaz RV, discovering and understanding the calls mainframe programs make to other applications and databases during runtime can be an extremely slow, difficult and error-prone process–especially for inexperienced mainframe developers faced with applications that may have little or no documentation.
With Topaz RV, in stark contrast, developers can generate an intuitive map of the external calls a program executes during any specified runtime within minutes–without the need to refer to source code–saving them hours or days of painstaking work, while ensuring the accuracy and completeness of their results.
Topaz RV also enables developers to drill down into a program’s external calls to see how often programs call each other during a runtime and/or the specific datasets a program accesses at each point in its execution. This insight helps them better pinpoint potential performance bottlenecks, inefficiencies and inter-program impacts.
Topaz RV is an ideal complement to traditional source-code parsing, which itemizes all out-of-program calls written into an application’s code. By discovering and mapping only the program-to-program calls that actually occur during a live runtime of any developer-specified task–such as placing an order or running a monthly report–Topaz RV gives developers a clear and accurate “snapshot” of a program’s real behavior in the production environment under present conditions.
The new Topaz release also enables developers of all skill levels to more quickly and accurately perform impact analyses by creating Java-like “projects”–logical collections of data sources–that allow them to discover and investigate dependencies across programs and copybooks, without having to move code off the mainframe.
Combined with the capabilities already provided by this year’s three previous Topaz releases–including cross-platform data visualization and editing, static COBOL and PL/I code visualization, and Java-on-mainframe performance management–this ground-breaking release removes impediments that have historically prevented enterprises from reaping the full potential value of their mainframe applications, data and hardware.
These impediments include:
- Declining in-house mainframe programming expertise and experience
- Inadequate documentation of mainframe applications
- Uncertain reliability of available source code
- Slow change management processes that depend excessively on manual program analysis and/or idiosyncratic knowledge of key SMEs
- The high business risk associated with making changes in an environment of complex and inadequately understood dependencies/impacts
- Poor collaboration between mainframe and non-mainframe developers
These impediments are becoming particularly problematic as mainframe applications are increasingly called upon to support the mobile customer experience and other essential aspects of digital business.
“In a business environment that demands we constantly update our application code to address relentlessly changing market realities, it is imperative for our mainframe environment to be as agile as our other platforms,” said Mr. Roberto Schmid, Service Manager Corporate IT Operations at Helvetia Insurance. “Compuware is enabling us achieve that agility by delivering solutions that help bring contemporary DevOps best practices to the mainframe, so we can fully leverage the value of our mainframe application portfolio–as well as the platform’s compelling performance, reliability, scalability, security and workload economics.”
“Mainframes have long been the platform of choice for enterprise systems of record, and today they are the backbone for many modern digital applications,” said Jason Bloomberg, president of digital transformation analyst firm Intellyx. “Compuware’s commitment to supporting current as well as the next generation of mainframe professionals with easy to use, innovative tools is of great service to enterprise customers who recognize the mainframe as the modern, digital platform it will continue to be for years to come.”
Compuware’s Agile Culture and “Gary’s Awesome Idea”
With this fourth major new release of Topaz in 2015–an unprecedented pace of innovation for a mainframe ISV–Compuware, in addition to enabling mainframe agility, is also exemplifying it.
The story behind the creation of Topaz RV is particularly telling.
Compuware software architect Gary Michalek came up with the idea for Topaz RV over the July 4 weekend while thinking about challenges he was facing on a current project. When he returned to work that Tuesday, he ran the idea by some colleagues. On Wednesday, he was in Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley’s office presenting his idea. On Thursday, the company’s product council met and gave Michalek one week to investigate his idea further with customers and appropriate Compuware SMEs–and show a prototype. That meeting, in turn, resulted in a green light for the project.
Over the following weeks, the Topaz RV team used an Agile approach to write and test code–as well as review output with customer and internal evaluators. As customers responded enthusiastically, Runtime Visualizer was elevated to the primary feature of the new release.
And on October 1–just 84 days after Michalek’s original conception–the innovative new high-value solution was ready for customers’ production environments.