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Blog | Zowe

How Successful is Zowe?

By | March 1, 2023

Written by Trevor Eddolls, CEO of iTech-Ed Ltd

Trevor Eddolls, CEO of iTech-Ed Ltd

We all know about Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe and recognize it as being a very useful product for mainframers to use, and particularly for non-mainframers to use when working on a mainframe. As we all know, Zowe is open-source technology that was announced in 2018 as a way for non-mainframers to securely manage, control, script, and develop on the mainframe like any other cloud platform. The real question is: how many mainframe sites are actually making use of it?

One answer to that question comes from the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2023, which, each year surveys mainframe sites to see what technologies are being used and which ones are going out of favour (and which ones haven’t got passed the stage of appearing on PowerPoint slides!).

This year, the results came from the 100 respondents who completed the survey between the October 21, 2022 and November 25, 2022. Just over half (55 percent) were from North America. 15 percent were from the Asia/Pacific region, and another 15 percent of respondents were from Europe. 10 percent were from South America. And five percent were from the Middle East/Africa.

The largest group of respondents were from companies with over 10,000 employees world-wide (31 percent). Just over a fifth (21 percent) had 200 to 1000 employees. And 16 percent of respondents were each from companies with under 200 staff, between a thousand and five thousand staff, and, lastly, between 5000 and 10,000 employees worldwide.

The survey found that 38 percent of respondents said that they are already using Zowe (double last year’s figure of 19 percent). With a further 31 percent of sites having plans to make use of it in the coming year. This figure is much lower than last year’s value of 50 percent, and gives a good indication of how many sites actually did install it in the intervening year. On the downside, nearly a third of respondents (31 percent) said that they had no plans to use Zowe. Even so, the survey results clearly show that open-source technology is now becoming commonplace on mainframes.

Other interesting results from the survey were that 56 percent of sites are already using Splunk or equivalent. And a further 12 percent said that they were planning to use it. 67 percent of sites are already using DevOps (up from 44 percent last year), with a further 13 percent planning to use it. And 62 percent of all respondents (up from 53 percent last year) said that they were already reusing APIs to speed up application development, with a further 19 percent of sites planning to reuse APIs. Blockchain has been in the news a lot, but doesn’t seem to be close to mainstream, yet. Seven percent of sites reported already using it (last year no-one did), and only seven percent of sites are planning to use it. With Docker, we found that 20 percent of respondents were already using it (up from 17 percent last year) with 47 percent at the planning stage.

Mainframes in an organization are just one of the computing platforms people use (along with phones, tablets, laptops, Power systems, etc), and, for a long time, there has been an issue, at many sites, with mainframes being accepted in the enterprise. The reason suggested by 85 percent of respondents was that the biggest obstacle was the difficulty in retaining the necessary skills. And this, perhaps, highlights the need for a product like Zowe.

The survey asked what, in their opinion, are the main benefits to their organization of the mainframe over other platforms, 85 percent of respondents highlighted the benefit of availability. 70 percent of respondents highlighted security. This figure is down from the 100 percent response last year, and yet breaches and ransomware still should be a major concern. 65 percent of respondents identified scalability, with 50 percent highlighting manageability as a benefit.

There’s more to the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook than just its annual survey. The mainframe strategy section contains articles by industry gurus and vendors with titles such as:

  • The NeverEnding Story: Optimizing and Securing the Modern Mainframe
  • Bigger Together: How to Maximize Mainframe’s Value.

Another section provides a guide to sources of information for IBM mainframers. This includes information on newsletters, magazines, user groups, blogs, mainframe-related apps, and social networking information resources. Amongst the things it highlights are Enterprise Tech Journal, the TechChannel website, IBM Listservs, SHARE’s Five Minute Briefing from Database Trends and Applications, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn discussions; as well as user groups such as SHARE and IDUG. There’s also a short discussion about IBM Tech TV.

In addition, there’s a glossary of terminology section explaining what all those acronyms stand for, in a way that means you can understand them.

The mainframe evolution section provides a mainframe hardware timeline detailing all the mainframe models that have been released by IBM and the date of their first availability from 1952 to 2022. In addition, there’s a diagram detailing all of the original OSes available for mainframes (eg BOS, OS/360 and CP40) and the stages of their evolution to the ones that are currently available (eg z/VSE, z/OS and Linux on IBM Z).

The vendor directory section contains an up-to-date list of vendors, consultants, and service providers working in the z/OS environment. There’s a summary of the products they supply and contact information. As usual, some organizations have disappeared from the list and some new ones have been added this year – indicating that this is still an exciting marketplace to be in.

The no-charge Arcati Mainframe Yearbook has been the de facto reference work for IT professionals working with z/OS (and its forerunner) systems since 2005. It provides a one-stop shop for everything a mainframer needs to know—definitely something worth taking a look at.

You can download a copy of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook here. It certainly shows that Zowe is continuing to grow in popularity.



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About Trevor Eddolls:

With over 40 years of mainframe experience, Trevor Eddolls is CEO of iTech-Ed Ltd, a UK-based company that specializes in consultancy, analysis, and technical writing about mainframe-related issues. For many years, Trevor was managing editor for Xephon’s Update publications. These were monthly publications for all mainframe subsystems, such as MVS Update, CICS Update, Db2 Update, etc. More recently, Trevor chairs and organizes the Virtual IMS, CICS, and Db2 user groups, and is Editorial Director for the annual Arcati Mainframe Yearbook. He has been an IBM champion since 2009.