Why Modernizing Mainframe Development Needs Secure Open Source

By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software

According to a recent Rocket Software survey, 80% of IT professionals categorize the mainframe as critical to their business. But in order to be successful in today’s technology-driven world, businesses that rely on the mainframe must modernize their operations and integrate the latest tools and technologies. Companies choosing to abandon their mainframe face a costly endeavor, risk downtime, and lose out on powerful benefits. Modernizing in place allows businesses to continue leveraging their technology investments through modernization without sacrificing the many benefits provided by mainframes.

One technology that modern mainframes need is secure open-source software. Four years ago, the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project introduced Zowe, a first-of-its-kind open-source framework based on z/OS, making it easier than ever to connect the gap between modern applications and the mainframe. Rocket Software is a founding member of the Zowe coalition, and our engineers have played an integral role in the evolution of the Zowe open-source framework. Open-source technologies provide organizations with the responsiveness and adaptability they need to implement advanced tools and practices that balance developers desire to work with the latest technology and organizational need for security and support.

Read on to learn more about why modern mainframes need secure open source.

Benefits of modernizing the mainframe

There is no denying the importance of mainframes within the enterprises that use them. Respondents to Rocket’s survey say the top three qualities that contribute to their organization’s reliance on the mainframe are reliability (34%), security (27%), and efficiency (22%). Modernizing in place is a great way for mainframe-reliant businesses to meet demands while positioning themselves for future success with an efficient and sustainable IT infrastructure.

Open-source software provides many benefits that can help businesses modernize mainframe development through capabilities that drive application and infrastructure modernization, accelerate application development, and enable the next generation of developers. Through DevOps/AppDev solutions, businesses can bring the accessibility of open source to the mainframe while ensuring the compliance and security of their system’s data. By automating processes, organizations can easily implement modern application development practices while ensuring compliance to organizational standards and business rules. Because of the development of open DevOps/AppDev solutions, businesses can bring applications to market faster, at lower cost, and with less risk.

Why the mainframe needs secure open source

Open-source solutions can provide the mainframe with a litany of benefits, but like any other technology, open source is not foolproof and comes with its own challenges. One of the main open-source challenges is regarding its security as applications are developed and delivered to and from the mainframe. Organizations are also concerned that if there are vulnerabilities found in open-source software, they will take a long time to fix. 

To overcome these challenges, organizations must take a security-first mindset and partner with industry-leading vendors to ensure that they have the capabilities to identify vulnerabilities and make fixes in time to mitigate security risks. For example, Rocket Support for Zowe gives users access to modern capabilities from the Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe open-source framework that makes it easier to interface and develop applications while providing 24/7 support, security, and compliance assurance.

The mainframe has been around for more than 50 years, and with the ability to integrate the latest technologies to match today’s business needs, it’s not going anywhere. Modernizing mainframe development with open-source software will enhance development practices while ensuring compliance to organizational standards and business rules.

To learn more about the power of open source on the mainframe, visit our website.

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