IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - May/June 2018 - 27
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"If an organization that develops APIs
opens them up to the larger development
community, even to those startup
companies that may be competing with
them, they're still providing back-end
value. They're still making money."
-Rosalind Radcliffe, IBM chief architect for DevOps for Enterprise Systems
should expose APIs and
microservices instead of trying
to hook everything together as if
they were a monolithic offering.
APIs, which allow software
components to communicate
with each other, are a significant
part of modernization, and
the larger API economy lets
developers monetize them by
allowing third-party applications
to adopt them.
"If an organization that
develops APIs opens them
up to the larger development
community, even to those
startup companies that may be
competing with them, they're
still providing back-end value.
They're still making money,"
Radcliffe remarks. "In this API
economy, you want to be first.
You want to provide stable
services that are used in all
these small applications that are
also involves the processes
surrounding the application,
which allows developers to
improve development and
operation procedures, including
standard DevOps practices such
as automated testing, continuous
delivery and integration. These
modifications can make it
easier to build and then expose
applications to quickly gather
"Overall, many people include as
part of modernization a continuous
feedback loop to make sure they're
not building and delivering a
monolith," Radcliffe says. "They're
building small functions that
allow them to rapidly receive
feedback and then revise, iterate
and improve-or throw away and
start all over again. Because these
are small functions rather than
large-scale applications, it's much
easier and effective to push them
out for automated testing and
examine the results."
Another factor involved in
modernization is being able
to take advantage of currently
available development skills,
such as developers or recent
college graduates who may
have experience with different
languages or solutions than those
used in an organization's typical
Because they're not working on
monolithic applications, they can
easily see how seemingly diverse
pieces can fit together as a whole.
A Common Goal
Application modernization offers
organizations quicker time to
The what? Since the 1st century A.D.,
those wanting future insights relied on
the orbuculum, or crystal ball.
And right now, businesses with
long-established COBOL applications wonder what the future holds.
But while the narrative around
application development (AppDev)
changes, the basic principles-
including these applications'
resiliency and value to the business-will not.
Modernizing technology is
enabling COBOL systems to continue
evolving to meet the growing needs
of IT organizations. The sky's the limit-
if COBOL applications can send
Voyager spacecraft 12 billion miles
into space, surely modern business
can reach its goals?
A glimpse into our orb sees
innovation realized as digital transformation projects that transform,
modernize and integrate COBOL
systems to realize their full business
value. Java*, .NET, web, mobile and
cloud will be the top enabling technologies fueling this drive, and strong,
enterprise-focused AppDev strategies
will align proven technology with the
best of what is yet to come.
No orbuculum on hand? Check
out predictions for the future of
COBOL applications: bit.ly/2E1IWlr.
Senior solutions marketing strategist,
Ed is responsible for the
company's COBOL and
mainframe technology lines.
MAY/JUNE 2018 // 27