Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Serena Software brings business mashups to mainframe application release process

"Mainframe" and "Web 2.0" aren't used together very often. Serena Software, Redwood City, Calif., hopes to change that with the release of its Serena Application Release Manager (ARM), a mashup aimed at the application release process.

ARM combines Web-2.0-type workflow capabilities with Serena's ChangeMan ZMF, a software change and configuration management application for mainframes. This is designed to allow companies to manage the application release process from initial change requests through to final deployment, and is part of Serena's goal to be a leading provider of software for application lifecycle management (ALM) services.

Included in the release is a visual process designer with out-of-the-box process templates that can be customized, allowing stakeholders -- developers, IT operations teams, and business users -- to coordinate their activities. Participants can use any Web-based device to track and approve projects.

This doesn't come without cost, as Rene Bonvanie, Serena's vice president of worldwide marketing, partner programs, and online services, told eWeek's Darryl Taft:
This mashup is not a free mashup. There is a lot of labor you can replace with this mashup. Since there are fewer release engineers, developers are stepping in to solve the problem.
Bill Ives at AppGap has a good take on why this development is important:
There are many large companies that still generate an extensive number of mainframe applications. One of their clients created 484,000 new mainframe apps in the past year. The number of IT people who can sit and stare at mainframe green screens is getting smaller. Now users can monitor and communicate through a browser-based system that is more familiar to the current generation of IT people.
Serena jumped into the mashup world just a little under a year ago. At the time, I said I thought they were "taking a walk on the wild services side," but I saw great hope for their approach. Just last month, Serena made news again when it released its Mashup Composer service, which allows users to drag and drop a wide variety of consumer information and combine it with data from internal applications.

The new release joins a wide array of other business mashups from Serena. All are available at the Serena Mashup Exchange.

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