(Updated below.) How would you like to run real, licensed z/OS and various middleware products such as CICS, DB2, MQ, IMS, WebSphere Application Server, plus lots of compilers, tools, etc? You can with the IBM Z Development & Test Environment, and you can do it all on your Linux laptop or PC.

IBM licenses ZD&T (with real z/OS and other software products that accompany z/OS) or demonstrations (such as at a trade show or user group), development, testing (with caveats), and education. Definitely not for production or performance testing. Please read the license “fine print” for details on permitted uses. And ZD&T is not free.

Here are the “secret codes” you’ll need, at this writing. First, you’ll need a USB attached hardware key, affectionately known as a “dongle.” The dongle is IBM Passport Advantage part number BT0PEML, and its current list price is US$144. Then, assuming it’s just you (one user, i.e. ZD&T “Personal Edition”), you’ve got a choice. You can either buy a 12 month fixed term license (part number D0M21LL, US$4,780) or a perpetual license (part number D0M1VLL, US$10,200). When the time comes to renew your term license (and maintenance) for another year you’d use part number E0D6GLL, US$4,780 current list price), or to renew the maintenance on your perpetual license for another year (the first year is included with the license) you’d use part number E0D6CLL, US$2,030 current list price). Maintenance means IBM Subscription and Support. Subscription means you’re able to download new software releases (including new z/OS, middleware, compiler, and tool releases), and Support means you’re able to call up (or electronically contact) IBM for help with ZD&T. (No, you very likely won’t be able to call in a “Severity 1” IMS problem incident, for example.)

If you’ve got a club of mainframe enthusiasts and want to band together to share a Linux server running ZD&T (and real z/OS), you can do that with “Resource Value Unit” (RVU) licensing. License quantity one (one RVU) means that you can configure ZD&T to use one X86 core (on your multi-core X86 machine) to emulate a Z processor. ZD&T is never suitable for performance testing, but one X86 core’s worth of emulation is enough for many purposes, even for a club. So start with that minimum and see how it goes. If the club wants to increase that number, that’s always possible. If you’ve got 5 people or more in your club, the RVU licensing is less expensive, assuming you’re all happy with one RVU.

You can sometimes get selective free access to z/OS via the IBM Z Trial Program and the Master the Mainframe Contest, as examples. But if you’d like your own personal (or club) mainframe, and if you’re OK living within the usage limits, ZD&T is fantastic.

Update: There are at least three other options for getting your own real z/OS environment: ZPDT, ZRDP, and (oddly enough) a real IBM Z machine. ZPDT and ZRDP are available to IBM PartnerWorld members. As for the real IBM Z machine option, to do that you (or a club?) would buy a real system such as an IBM zBC12 or z13s (purchased at auction, perhaps) with some ECKD disk. You’d then license z/OS (Base, DFSMSdsshsm, RMF, SDSF, Security Server, and C/C++ let’s suppose) from IBM under standard ZNALC commercial terms (get approval from IBM first!), and you’d configure your machine with a 3 MSU softcap across all your z/OS LPARs. You’d also send IBM your SCRT reports every month. Do all that and you’d pay about $153/month (2017 U.S. pricing) for z/OS, nicely equipped. If all you need is real z/OS, if your z/OS use qualifies for ZNALC (probably), and if IBM trusts you enough to do business with you (mostly that you’ll pay your monthly bills reliably), yes, you can do this.

Posted in IBM.
IBM Rational software was acquired by IBM in 2003, to become one of its leading software brands. For some time, the name itself intrigued me the most, and after diving into its different products, it made perfect sense to me: every result or impact yielded was the direct effect of applying a smart but rational twist to how things were done. All in all, IBM Rational allows you to change how you design, develop, and deliver software, to build more innovative products and services, beat your competition, shorten time to market, with lower costs and cut down risk. 

Each software project, whether large or small, undergoes certain phases, which combined are known as the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). There exist five stages in the SDLC model: Requirement Analysis, Design, Implementation (coding), Testing, Evolution (maintenance). Under the Rational suite, there are many products that are key for a smarter development environment and complement the development life cycle.

IBM has dubbed Enterprise Modernization a cornerstone in their Smarter Computing initiative, offering an approach in revitalization and continuous improvement of aging applications, empowering development using both existing and new skills with productivity enhancements, unifying teams to increase organizational agility across all platforms, and optimizing usage of IT infrastructure by freeing up capital and capacity needed to run critical, production applications – all with the goal of making breakthroughs in IT efficiency and innovation.

There are several families of IBM Rational products in which Enterprise Modernization plays an important role in:

Rational Asset Analyzer is an application discovery and impact analysis tool for improving your understanding and insight into relationships within and among System z and composite applications. Not only will it allow you to understand the code better, but it will also show you existing application inter-dependencies, meaning changes can be made with fewer mistakes and comprehensive testing, helping complete projects on time and within budget.

Rational Team Concert is a unified and collaborative multiplatform team infrastructure including support for System z and distributed systems to help streamline the entire application development and deployment life cycle across all operating environments. Following is a simplified example of why team collaboration is a very important parameter for a productive environment. Imagine a kitchen in a restaurant where dinner (source code) is being planned (designed). The chef (project manager) will hand out tasks (jobs) to the rest of the cooks (developers). Each will have to prepare his list of ingredients (requirements) and cook his dishes (artifacts). At the end, all dishes collectively leave the kitchen (lab) to form the dinner (end product). For this event to be successful the chef (project manager) needs to be aware of what each cook (developers) is working on, make sure that every one is in sync and that no duplicates are being cooked (developed), securing a smarter development environment. 
Rational Developer for System z helps make traditional System z development, web development, and integrated Service Oriented Architecture based multi-platform development faster and more efficient. It supports modern user interfaces and full web application processing and web services to integrate these application styles and processes together. It creates, maintains, debugs and deploys transactional and batch applications to the z/OS platform. It promotes the reuse and transformation of existing applications to help reduce costs and shorten the development cycle.  For all of us young mainframers, RDz offers a “GUI” interface to the good old green screen while adding great new features and capabilities.
Rational Development and Test Environment for System z provides a small-scale, unit test environment for developers who will be able to run z/OS and z/OS middleware on an Intel or Intel-compatible (x86) personal computer, thus bringing flexibility and reducing the cost of developing in a mainframe environment. The developer is now capable of building and testing new System z applications virtually at anytime and from anywhere. The z/OS features are still the same, however, developers can now create applications in the unit test environment before being released on the mainframe, hence shared mainframe environments or processes are left intact. Since the testing is run in the unit test environment, this means that mainframe development MIPS (million instructions per second) are spared for production capacity. 
Rational Host Access Transformation Services quickly transforms your 3270 and 5250 green screen applications to intuitive web, portlet, rich client or mobile device user interfaces, and extend 3270, 5250, and VT green screens as standard web services. 

The purpose of this post was to give you a quick overview of what IBM Rational software has to offer to the development world. More detailed follow up posts will be coming your way soon, so stay tuned and remember to always think Rationally.

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