Giving Mainframe Applications a New Lease on Life

Written by: Jeanne Talbot
4 min read
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Although mainframe computers have been around for more than 50 years, many companies still rely on them to run their core business systems and are still being widely used by their end customers. But let’s face it: Mainframes – and the software that runs on them – have significant agility, cost and maintenance burdens. That’s where LzLabs plays a role. The Switzerland-based company helps businesses move their mainframe-based applications and data to modern systems with minimal changes and, therefore, minimal risk.

LzLabs safely migrates those aging applications using sophisticated proprietary solutions backed by dozens of developers and testing engineers. The team runs hundreds of thousands of tests every day to ensure a quality end product. It is an incredibly complex task that demands equally complex software orchestration and execution.

Overseeing that effort is Jon Griffiths, Head of DevOps at LzLabs. "My team is in the middle of everything,” Jon told me recently. "Our developers produce the source code, we then run and maintain all the build, test and deployment environments.” The people Jon works with tend to be exceptionally talented development and testing pros. 

"Our development workforce tends to be slightly older and they have really been around and so they know their stuff. It’s incredible what some of them can do,” he said.

Jon’s small DevOps team has developed the LzLabs Global Test Harness (GTH) testing platform. Before adopting CloudBees, the whole process was done manually, and time zone differences between teams slowed the testing process. As the company was growing so quickly, LzLabs began bumping into hardware constraints as well. "We started to hit the ceiling with hardware resources and a lack of flexibility,” Jon explained. "We needed that to be orchestrated.”

Although the team tried to orchestrate its projects with an open source solution, "we eventually hit a wall,” he said. "It didn’t allow our groups the flexibility they needed to have control over their own projects. So, when the opportunity to start using CloudBees came along, we jumped on it.”

LzLabs went live on CloudBees a few months ago and Jon was pleased with how easily they rolled it out. "We planned it very carefully so we needed just one weekend to move all the difficult jobs over to CloudBees,” Jon told me. "And it just worked really nicely. Disruption was very minimal given the scale of the change. My whole team was involved and we were all really happy with the result.”

Parallel Productivity

By running many of the test streams in parallel, Jon has seen the development team’s productivity skyrocket. "We can now run three full sequences of tests on three separate branches simultaneously,” Jon says. "The QA team were really appreciative of what we had done.” Instead of taking days to complete tests, the QA team can now run about 29,000 tests in each run and do 10 or 15 runs a day, all fully automated with no direct involvement from DevOps or development.

Thanks to CloudBees, LzLabs can now deploy and manage its hardware assets more efficiently by sharing resources between different teams. "We’re able to fully utilize all of the hardware we have available to us” he says.  

The CloudBees platform helps automate development tasks and keep projects on track. For example, a lot of the developers are using the CloudBees platform to quality-check their code before they hand it over to the QA team. Teams are also using the system to manage the merge process automatically, 24 hours a day. Also ensuring that only one merge can happen at a time, thus avoiding a potential break in the process. 

As LzLabs continues its significant growth, Jon looks forward to leveraging the automated software delivery platform even more to speed time to market. "We have to stay flexible and agile,” Jon explained to me. "Our CloudBees platform will help us quickly and reliably deliver high-quality software products and services.”

Read the case study to learn more about how CloudBees helps LzLabs keep its competitive edge.

Learn more about LzLabs at www.lzlabs.com 

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