by Floyd Del Muro | January 25th 2019
Reflections on the rise of Git and the DevOps paradigm on so-called legacy platforms IBM i and z/OS – by Floyd Del Muro, Technology & DevOps Advocate
In my experience, which started back in 1988 on the System 38, nothing has dominated the development landscape since Y2K like GIT. As an advocate of DevOps, virtually every day in my professional life, I have discussions about Git. Is that happening to you as well? Last night, I met a few young IT professionals from Nepal during a social hour for cocktails and dinner. The first young man, about 30-something years young, is a product manager for a startup healthcare company. Their new Python-based solution is meant to provide digital transformation for hospitals countrywide from the solutions and manual efforts of today. Always probing, I asked, “So, what do you do for source control, versioning”. His response, “GIT” through a GitHub repository. A second young man at the table states he is a Java developer for a major office supply retailing company. I asked him the same question and his response was nearly identical.
How to use Git on IBM i (aka iSeries, AS/400)?
If you know me, I know what you are thinking – “Floyd, you frequent many technology events annually in your travels so it is not a big stretch to have a geek-fest conversation with a few young open source developers”. I could not agree more! It is fairly common for me to talk with a mixture of young and senior developers collectively during professional conferences. The reality is this did not happen at an organized technology event. All of this GitHub and DevOps dialogue took place at a restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal. The event was a meet-and-greet for family and friends of Prawal, the groom to be at an upcoming Hindu marriage. This collision of culture, code and technology starts when my brother hired Prawal eight years ago for an electrical engineering position in the Boston area. This led to an invitation for my brother’s family to attend the wedding, extended family counting me. Needless to say, I was more than pleased to accept the invitation and adventure.
What is my point you ask! Git continues to gain traction in the development world even in developing countries like Nepal. Our strategic business partner, GitHub, boasts 32 million developers using their social development platform modeled around a Git repository. I talk daily to programming managers and developers about how they have the need to deliver new features and functions to the business faster than ever imagined before. Innovative ways to engage customers or prospects through new touch points, web interactions and mobile applications. These new user interfaces often require integration with the critical business data that, in our world, resides on the IBM i. It is this clash in development workflow that is causing stress and fracturing of any current workflow process, tooling and lastly people. There is a tremendous need for a platform that is scalable, secure, reliable, yet quick that can manage software modification risk. This concept of DevOps to standardize workflow of software change on a common stack of tooling for business-critical source code assets could cause even more havoc in an already hectic world, if attempted without a depth of understanding of the challenges both real and perceived. In addition, you still need to provide the needed financial value in terms of implementing, training and return on investment. Delivering on all these promises is what makes DevOps very appealing to companies of all sizes.
Why Git? From the start, it was designed to take into account this new collaborative paradigm of development. It includes the needed productivity and independence of code modifications for today’s programmer, yet still provides the needed structure, security and compliance mandated by the business environment today. It provides the ability to function over disparate computer languages, developer demands, and distributed teams without sacrifice in providing the integration, speed and flexibility to drive the business and market changing innovation. It is a new way to work independently yet collectively and manage the ever-present failure and risk that exists in the IT world. Git coupled with a platform like GitHub offers unbridled benefits. Autonomous development, collaboration, dynamic code merging, scalability and controlled yet seamless visibility are just a few of the reasons for its massive adoption rate and cultural movement.
Why use Git on IBM i (aka iSeries, AS/400)?
Git may not be in the stars for ALL legacy companies running on IBM i or Z. However, if you are challenged with your current load of hybrid development, then Git may be your answer. There are challenges you will need to understand to reach maximum velocity and success. The reality is that most of them are cultural and not based on technology or tooling. You can manage RPG or COBOL code almost identically to any other programming language-based efforts today. It will eliminate the existing challenges you experience and perceive today, providing the needed and unknown scalability for tomorrow. The best result will be that business leaders will have a greater understanding and acceptance through the visibility and speed in which new ideas can be introduced without the disruption or complete dismissal of the existing business model.
So GIT excited and take the steps needed to jump start your business now and for the future.
Floyd Del Muro
Technology and DevOps Advocate
With 26 years of experience on the IBM midrange platform, Floyd is currently Technology & DevOps Advocate for ARCAD Software, managing the IBM relationship and partnership with the IBM Cloud, IBM Systems and product managers for Rational Team Concert (RTC), Rational Developer for i (RDi) and UrbanCode (UC). In his role at ARCAD Software, Floyd has been directly involved in the management of modernization projects on IBM i, from planning stages through to delivery, spanning modernization of the database, business logic and UI. Drawing on his experience in project rollout and the introduction of agile methods, Floyd is a trusted advisor and speaker on the subjects of DevOps, continuous delivery and test automation.
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