IBM i Vendor Breaks Into Gartner Magic Quadrant
November 1, 2017 Dan Burger
Finding an IBM i software vendor in the Gartner Magic Quadrant is sort of like finding a four-leaf clover. It doesn’t happen very often and it feels like a lucky day when you do. Last week, ARCAD Software made it into the coveted quad in the Application Release Automation category.
ARCAD, which considers DevOps the centerpiece of its software business, has expanded from what was once a more narrowly defined application change management software developer servicing the IBM midrange market. The IBM i customer base still represents 95 percent of ARCAD’s business; however, its software support has expanded to include Unix, Linux, Windows and z/OS. And its product capabilities include application lifecycle management, enterprise modernization, release management, DevOps, test automation and data masking.
Its multi-platform release management software is known as DROPS, which was designed to support continuous integration and delivery of new applications–including mobile and open source code management–and additional operations related to project management and application deployment processes.
DROPS release management software is a standalone product that supports IBM i, but is not specifically tied to the IBM i platform. As a standalone, DROPS is used for business release coordination, a process that pertains to managing the deployment of business-critical applications. Its strengths are improving collaboration across multiple technical and business teams and the elimination of labor-intensive manual and script-based processes.
ARCAD has positioned DROPS as part of the multi-platform ARCAD Application Lifecycle Management suite where DROPS can be used to analyze libraries and use source code to develop a database that contains all the inter-relationships between components (programs, files, etc.), fields (databases, work fields), and lines of source code.
Managing the deployment processes with DROPS is accomplished through a visual interface on a Web-based console. Deployment stages are validated and visible in real time and a deployment log is provided. Processes can be associated with an application or an environment and follows a configurable deployment map, which is capable of containing several environments.
A single tool that can pick changes in multiple platforms and eventually push everything into production could be described as a synchronization tool. It handles the sign-off from the various groups involved in the production processes.
ARCAD CEO Philippe Magne believes the inclusion of his company’s software in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is recognition of the transformation of ARCAD from a platform-specific change management software company to a player in the DevOps field with expertise in the IBM i niche. He considers release management and DevOps to be crucial elements of ARCAD’s business strategy. He also sees the Magic Quadrant selection as proof that the IBM i has a vital role in DevOps.
ARCAD provided Gartner with 10 customer references — nine of them IBM i shops — that are doing multi-platform development and managing the collaborative development and deployment using its release automation tools. Gartner surveyed the customers as part of the research and analysis due diligence.
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant selections must shine in two important areas: ability to execute and completeness of vision. Ability to execute is an evaluation of the product or service, market responsiveness, customer experience, operations, plus marketing and sales. The completeness of vision rating is scored on the product strategy, business model, and innovation.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant ranking system is divided into four smaller quadrant categories: leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players. ARCAD DROPS is placed in the niche player quadrant in the category Application Release Automation. Depending on your business goals, Gartner points out, a niche player may support your needs better than a market leader.
IBM, with its Rational Team Concert (RTC) application lifecycle management tool, is in the leader quadrant. The IBM i component to RTC is supplied by ARCAD Software.
According to Gartner, application release automation solutions improve both the speed and the quality of application releases, which has a direct effect on business performance. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of global enterprises will have implemented at least one application release automation solution. Less than 15 percent have taken that step already.
“The primary objective for DevOps toolchain orchestration is to ensure the DevOps delivery pipeline is managed in line with business priorities,” noted George Spafford and Joachim Herschmann in a July 2017 Gartner research report. “This means releases must be visible to all members of the DevOps team, including business stakeholders. This visibility is also used to identify bottlenecks and delays, as well as areas where effort, cost and time can be saved. The orchestration of the pipeline should still provide the flexibility to embrace agile practices. It should also provide a level of control that ensures that activities adhere to corporate business guidelines (for example, security and compliance regulations).”