Ansible DevOps comes to the mainframe

DevOps? On a mainframe!? Yes, it's true. Red Hat is bringing Ansible to the IBM Z.

I cut my teeth on mainframe computers. My first system administration language wasn't -- as you might guess from my Unix/Linux background -- Borrne or C shell, but rather, IBM 360 mainframe Job Control Language (JCL). So, the notion that a DevOps system, such as Red Hat Ansible, could ever control a mainframe is a little mind-blowing. Sure, IBM mainframes have been using Linux for 20 years now, but DevOps on a mainframe? Really?

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Really. 

IBM z/OS Ansible is available now. As you'd expect, it enables you to automate z/OS applications and IT infrastructure. It will also enable to automate development and operations through unified workflow orchestration across platforms.

This new DevOps tool will also work with your existing JCL, REXX, and z/OSMF assets. So, it's nice to know my ancient JCL skills haven't been completely abandoned to the sands of time. Down the road, you'll also be able to automate common configuration and management tasks for z/OS old middleware workhorses like IMS and CICS. You can already use the more modern -- by comparison to CICS -- Python with this DevOps platform.

Barry Baker, IBM Z and LinuxONE offering management vice president, explained in a statement: 

Red Hat Ansible Certified Content for IBM Z, enabling Ansible users to automate IBM Z applications and IT infrastructure. The Certified Content will be available in Automation Hub, with an upstream open-source version offered on Ansible Galaxy. This means that no matter what mix of infrastructure our clients are working with, IBM is bringing automation for IBM Z into the fold to help you manage across your hybrid environment through a single control panel.

Baker continued:

For developers and operations, Ansible allows them to break down traditional internal and historical technology silos to centralize automation — all while leveraging the performance, scale, control and security provided by IBM Z. This brings the best of both worlds together with a practical and more economical solution.

Now, it has been a long, long time since I worked on mainframes as a sysadmin. But, I confess, I'm excited by this news. The combination of Ansible automation and flexibility with the sheer power of today's IBM Z mainframes promises great increases in mainframe functionality. 

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