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A Modern Approach to Mainframe DevOps: New Zowe zDevOps Jenkins Plugin

By | April 10, 2023

Written by Zowe Community Members from the IBA Group

Last month, we announced a new tool that contributes to the mainframe modernization movement. We’ve developed a Zowe plugin that helps z/OS developers bring DevOps to Mainframe faster, simpler, and easier. DevOps principles are becoming a core practice in Mainframe, and our plugin joins a growing list of emerging tools for creating, testing, and maintaining Mainframe applications in new ways.

In this article, we’ll tell you more about our new tool, outline its benefits, and explain how it fits into the broader Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe ecosystem and Mainframe DevOps tools.

Let’s get started!

Meet the New Zowe Plugin: What It Is and Why You Need It

The Zowe zDevOps Jenkins plugin for building CI/CD pipelines in Mainframe is out! Our new plugin is a free, open-source, out-of-the-box solution that helps you bring CI/CD DevOps approaches to Mainframe using the Zowe Kotlin SDK.

We designed this new plugin to solve many of the problems with most existing Mainframe DevOps solutions. By using our plugin, you will:

  • Help experienced Mainframe developers automate many routine processes
  • Help new developers quickly use modern tools like Jenkins on Mainframe
  • Build code, run tests, and deploy on Mainframe — automatically, in minutes
  • Save a minimum of 2 hours per day by automating routine processes

You can access our plugin here for free, watch a short video about it here.

We built this plugin in close collaboration with Zowe’s teams to solve a big problem in Mainframe modernization. Businesses and developers have been trying to bring process automation to Mainframe, and to set up DevOps pipelines for their Mainframe products, but they have lacked the tools to do so.

While there are dozens of DevOps solutions and tools on the market, these options can be challenging and time consuming to stitch together into a single, seamless DevOps solution. The Zowe team has been working to simplify and streamline this space with their Zowe CLI, yet they haven’t been able to cover all use cases just yet, and a few key functions have been missing.

The Zowe zDevOps plugin helps to solve this problem, and to make it fast, simple, and easy to build CI/CD pipelines in Mainframe. Our new Zowe tool offers a suite of powerful features from a single solution, including:

  • A secure and modern connection between Jenkins and the Mainframe using z/OSMF REST APIs
  • Functionality based on Zowe Kotlin SDK methods, including JCL jobs submissions, downloads, allocations, writing to the dataset, and log collection upon completion
  • Multiple connections to various Mainframes, including a z/OS Connections List where you can save all systems and login credentials, and secure them under the Jenkins Credentials manager
  • Fast execution and functional extensibility through our agentless solution
  • Integration with the larger Zowe ecosystem.

All delivered through a free, native Jenkins solution that is easy to install, configure, and use — and is 100% free and available starting today!

(For a more detailed technical explanation of how to deploy the new plugin, click here. And special thanks to the Jenkins community for the attention and repost of our tweet!)

The Start of Something Big: Our Plans for New Plugins and a Complete DevOps Ecosystem

Now that we’ve launched our new DevOps plugin, we’re planning to create new plugins, features, and integrations in the second quarter of 2023 to further extend our growing plugin ecosystem.

To start, we’re planning to integrate Zowe CLI support into Zowe zDevOps Jenkins plugin in declarative syntax. The Zowe CLI is a command-line interface that lets you interact with Mainframe in a familiar manner. It provides plug-ins that help you automate actions on systems like IBM Db2, IBM CICS, and more.

However, Zowe CLI is not as simple and easy to use with our solutions as it could be. You need various pre-installed systems to run it, you need various extension plugins to work with different systems, and take a long list of actions to inject it into Jenkins and your CI/CD pipelines to automate Mainframe processes.

We’re looking to simplify this by integrating Zowe CLI support into the Zowe zDevOps Jenkins plugin so you can take advantage of its functionality using the same declarative Zowe CLI commands directly in the pipeline code without needing to run it from under a docker container and shell commands.

In addition, we’re planning to integrate a Zowe API mediation layer.

The mediation layer will provide a single point of access for Mainframe service REST APIs, to offer secure, scalable, highly available communication across loosely coupled API services. It will also provide visibility into services running inside the API ML ecosystem, and to overall improve communication between services in Mainframe.

These are just a few of the plans we have for 2023, all driving towards the same goal of making it fast, simple, and easy to bring DevOps principles into your processes for building, deploying, and maintaining Mainframe applications.

Take the Next Step

At IBA, we build Mainframe DevOps tools for you and your teams. We are very open to any and all feedback you might have, and we’re here to provide as much support as you need to get up and running with our tools.

To join us on this journey, take the right next step:

  • Access our new plugin here and more documentation here
  • Read a technical explanation of how to install and use our new plugin
  • Leave a comment below to share any ideas and suggestions that might build a more modern, accessible, and enjoyable Mainframe DevOps experience
  • Or, if you would either like to be part of one of our projects — or if you need assistance bringing any of our plugins or processes to life in your environment — reach out today for a free consultation

Learn more:

If you enjoyed this blog check out more Zowe blogs here. Or, ask a question and join the conversation on the Open Mainframe Project Slack Channel #zowe-explorer-intellij, #zowe-explorer, #zowe-cli, #zowe-dev, #zowe-user, or #zowe-onboarding. If this is your first time using the Open Mainframe Slack Channel register here.