…Zowe Initiative and the “Open Mainframe”

At this year’s , and announced an known as “Zowe” – a framework designed to draw new application development to the , as well as making it simpler to integrate modern applications on other platforms (systems, servers, mobile devices, etc.) with mainframe servers. We at , however, see this move as a heck of a lot more than application development and integration – we consider it a major step forward in opening up the mainframe and making it a transparent member of any enterprise hybrid cloud environment.


“Applications capture” dictates the success or failure of a platform. It explains why Microsoft was so successful with its Windows PC OS, and why competitors such as Novell with SuperNOS and IBM with OS2 faded. It also explains why Apple’s iPhone was and is so successful – by promising developers’ efforts through its App Store, Apple captured the newest, latest-greatest, modern applications in the mobile market, leading to the company’s great success.

For the purpose of this report, however, a more interesting parallel in applications capture is the Android marketplace where the open mobile operating system created a huge draw for developers to build on a Google-created, -like operating environment.

On the surface, Zowe is just like this initiative. It provides new interfaces to the z/OS operating environment that enable simplified application development and integration – and that enable developers to take advantage of back-end mainframe applications and databases, as well as the mainframe’s massive scalability. IBM offers a product known as which helps developers integrate distributed applications with the mainframe. Zowe then enables developers and administrators to develop and manage those applications using similar tools and practices as found on other platforms.

But what if Zowe is more than that? What if its about “opening-up” the mainframe such that a myriad of applications, as well as hardware partners, can develop a new ecosystem of solutions on the architecture?

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.

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