For decades, companies that offer z/OS based products have attempted to address the skills gap, improve the developer’s user experience (UX), and help them shift to heterogeneous architectures. Companies providing z/OS tools have worked largely independently with their product portfolios to modernize the user experience, each with their own design languages and architectures. This has led to a fragmented developer and system programmer experience when moving between vendor tools on z/OS. Consumer buying habits and decision criteria vary from year to year as companies adapt to changing market trends and economic conditions, but the importance of productivity remains a key buyer decision criteria.

As a result, z/OS users have been left with a variety of tools that are comprised of disparate applications from competing companies that do not communicate well together – creating barriers that prevent individuals from using best of breed tools to be efficient with completing their z/OS tasks.

Addressing this need for productivity is a huge opportunity for tool providers as developers continue to have increasing influence on the tools and products their companies buy. The opportunity to improve developer agility and ease of use could be solved by industry leaders coming together, through a shared vision, to create a platform solution for everyone on Z. Introducing Zowe.

IBM, Rocket Software and CA Technologies knew the best way to tackle this challenge was through the creation of the first open source community on z/OS. It wasn’t just one company that came up with Zowe, but all three who helped formulate and shape the mission of the project to create an extensible and integrated framework of software services to help bring modern tools and applications to the Z platform.

The development and adoption of Zowe creates an inflection point for the platform. Expert mainframers who have created powerful scripts or widgets can share their talents with a wider audience. Other vendors of z/OS products are free to use Zowe technology and are encouraged to contribute new ideas and help innovate on Zowe’s capabilities.

Off platform developers now have a way to access data and workflows that once were enclosed in a big black box. The next generation of developers can now use this framework to bring in modern tools. Anyone and everyone can get involved in this project and help define what Z Next Gen, means to them.

Zowe’s mission is part of the wider mission of the Open Mainframe Project, namely to bring a community of like minded inviduals, organisations and academic institutions together to foster open source collaboration around the mainframe platform. The Open Mainframe Project is a Linux Foundation collaborative project and is intended to serve as a focal point for deployment and use of open source in a mainframe computing environment. The Project intends to increase collaboration across the mainframe community and to develop shared tool sets and resources.

Zowe is perfectly aligned with the Open Mainframe Project mission in that it creates a standard framework of software services to improve the usability and consumability of modern tools and interfaces on z/OS. Visit OpenMainframeProject.org for more information and learn how you can contribute!