At SHARE on August 14th, IBM, Rocket Software, and CA Technologies took the stage in St. Louis to deliver a keynote address announcing the first z/OS open source project, Zowe, as part of the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project community.

The three companies have a shared vision to open up the mainframe. Leaders Andy Youniss (Rocket), Greg Lotko (CA), and Barry Baker (IBM) spoke about the importance of opening up the mainframe, and discussed the impact the Zowe community will have on the industry. It will narrow the skills gap and enable developers to use the tools of their choice, allowing them to be more efficient, productive, and agile on z/OS. All three companies have committed to investing significant R&D resources into developing future products that leverage the Zowe framework.

In order to understand what it means to open up the mainframe, we’ve outlined four components of Zowe:

  1. Zowe APIs: z/OS has a set of REST APIs for the operating system made available by the z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF). Zowe uses these REST APIs to submit jobs, work with the JES queue, and manipulate USS or MVS data sets (among other services). Zowe Explorers are visual representations of these APIs that are wrapped in the Zowe web UI application. Zowe Explorers create an extensible z/OS framework that provides new z/OS REST services to transform enterprise tools and DevOps processes to incorporate new technology, languages, and modern workflows.
  2. Zowe API Mediation Layer: The Zowe API mediation layer has several key components:
    • API Gateway – is built using Netflix Zuul and Spring Boot technology to forward API requests to the appropriate corresponding service through the microservice endpoint UI.
    • Discovery Service – is built on Eureka and Spring Boot technology and acts as the central point in the API Gateway that accepts announcements of REST services, and is a repository for active services.
    • API Catalog – publishes APIs and their associated documentation that are discoverable from the service catalog. A service can be implemented by one or more service instances, which provides the same service for high-availability or scalability.
  3. Zowe Web UI: Named zLUX, the web UI modernizes and simplifies working on the mainframe and allows the user to create applications that suit specific needs. The UI works with the underlying REST APIs for data, jobs, and subsystems, and presents the information in a full-screen mode compared to the command-line interface. This is a native and extensible z/OS web user interface that provides a unifying user experience where different applications in the Zowe web UI can work together and provide launch in context to provide a fast path to additional information.
  4. Zowe Command Line Interface: The CLI allows users to interact with z/OS from a variety of other platforms, such as cloud or distributed systems, to submit jobs, issue TSO and z/OS console commands, integrate z/OS actions into scripts, and produce responses as JSON documents. With this extensible and scriptable interface, you can tie in mainframes to distributed DevOps pipelines and build in automation.

Above all, we are building a community.

Zowe has a community of developers, system programmers, architects, operators, and other z/OS users who contribute to and/or make use of the Zowe framework. Whether you are interested in plugging existing applications into Zowe, looking to develop and bring new applications to this framework, or have a fat client application to change to lightweight/thin — Zowe can help.

For more details, check out Matt Hogstrom’s blog post on Zowe. And of course, be sure to visit and test out the beta download!

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