Aldon Supports iASPs with Change Management System
October 11, 2005 Alex Woodie
iSeries shops looking to implement a change management system as part of a regulatory compliance project may want to check out the latest from Aldon, one of the leading developers for this type of software. The company recently unveiled Aldon Lifecycle Manager iSeries Edition version 7.4, which brings new support for independent auxiliary storage pools (iASPs) and helps simplify the testing of deleted objects and the consolidation of releases.
When an IT department grows to where it has five or more programmers working on the same set of applications, that shop, as rule of thumb, becomes a good candidate for change management software. Development groups, of course, can get by without this sort of automation, especially if one or two programmers do most of the work. But history shows it becomes more likely that a larger group programmers and their work will come into conflict without a tool to provide version control, change request, and deployment management, among other capabilities.
Besides overall programmer efficiency, new regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley are also driving sales of change management products these days. While SOX focuses on ensuring the integrity of corporate financial disclosure processes and the personnel that oversee these processes, programmers are not immune from this Web of suspicion, and auditors are finding change management products a good way to document that programmers are not (unnecessarily) tampering with financial programs and data, either by accident or on purpose.
Today, Aldon has two main change management offerings in its Lifecycle Manager suite. Its flagship offering is Lifecycle Manager Enterprise Edition (formerly called Affiniti), which was released at version 5.0 in February. This product manages a wide range of programmers and development work occurring across OS/400, Windows, Unix, Linux, OpenVMS, and zSeries servers, although the server component must reside on an IBM iSeries or pSeries box running OS/400, AIX, or Linux, or another server running Red Hat Linux.
For shops relying heavily on the OS/400 server, the company offers its Aldon Lifecycle Manager iSeries Edition (LMi), which was formerly referred to as Aldon Change Management System (ACMS). This product provides OS/400-centric change management capabilities, including version control, project management, user request management, multiple release management, source compare and merge, and object distribution and deployment, via Aldon Deployment Manager, which is integrated with LMi.
Last month at the COMMON conference in Orlando, Florida, Aldon unveiled LMi version 7.4. When this product ships (It is scheduled to ship on November 1), it will bring a number of new enhancements, including support for iASPs.
iASPs have been around since OS/400 V5R1, although they’ve only recently begun to see real use in the past couple years due to enhancements IBM made in V5R2 and i5/OS (aka V5R3). iASPs provide useful functionality to operators and programmers, including enabling users to move storage between systems, to swap alternative data or programs for testing or other purposes, and to perform upgrades without an IPL or significant downtime.
With LMi 7.4, Aldon has improved its support for iASPs by eliminating the requirement for developers to remember storage configuration details. The change management software now deals with iASP’s dirty details automatically, enabling developers to focus on what they’re paid to do, which is to write applications.
Another enhancement in LMi 7.4 is in the area of testing deleted objects. A new “retire objects” function facilitates testing for the effects of object removal, and circulates deletions to data sets and distribution targets, Aldon says. This function simplifies testing by showing what objects call or depend on the retired object, making it much easier for users to remove objects throughout the development lifecycle and improve code quality, the company says.
Lastly, this release of Aldon’s software makes it easier for developers to merge releases without losing version and historical information in the final release. Companies that can benefit from “merge to parent” functionality, according to Aldon, include: companies with scheduled releases and tight controls; ISVs that want to consolidate releases without losing the version number; and financial institutions with strict auditing procedures.
The latest release of Aldon Lifecycle Manager iSeries Edition will likely be a popular topic at the company’s upcoming user conference, which will be held November 6 through 9 in San Francisco. Aldon’s headquarters are in nearby Emeryville.
LMi 7.4 is scheduled for availability next month. For more information, visit www.aldon.com.