Rocket Launches New DevOps Solution for IBM i
March 23, 2022 Alex Woodie
Rocket Software last week took the covers off a newly branded solution aimed at bringing IBM i development processes into the future. Dubbed Rocket DevOps, the offering is based on the existing Rocket Aldon offering and is designed to enable IBM i shops to adopt the latest CI/CD development and operations practices. The suite also will welcome a new testing solution next month.
Rocket DevOps was created to be a soup-to-nuts DevOps solutions that gives development and delivery teams everything they need to develop and deploy high quality and secure IBM i code in an efficient manner. In addition to automating tasks such as code deployment and testing, it will also allows non-IBM i professionals to help manage DevOps processes on the platform, all while helping customers to comply with industry regulations.
Rocket’s new DevOps package includes 11 components, many of which will be familiar to its Aldon customer base. It all starts with the core Lifecycle Manager (IBM i Edition) for managing code exclusively in IBM i environments and Lifecycle Manager (Enterprise Edition) for managing code in mixed X86 and Power environments, including IBM i, AIX, Linux, and Windows.
On top of this base, customers can choose a mix of additional components, including Deployment Manager, which pushes code to server environments and runs on IBM i or Linux servers; and Community Manager, which provides service desk functionality to manage workflows and which runs only on Linux. There is also DevOps Harmonizer, a tool for comparing and merging source code on IBM i.
The Rocket DevOps Portal gives administrators a Web-based tool for generating and viewing reports about the DevOps process. Rocket has bolstered this offering by adopting IBM’s Carbon UI, and it has also incorporated features like reporting that were once separate components within Rocket ALM into the portal itself, Rocket says.
Another component is Rocket DevOps Testing, which brings automation of the testing process. According to Chris Wey, the president of Rocket’s Data Modernization business unit, the biggest piece of news with the rollout of Rocket DevOps is the new automated testing capabilities that Rocket will be bringing to IBM i.
“In April, Rocket DevOps will make available a beta version of its new testing component that allows customers to automate IBM i code testing within their DevOps environment, including collecting anonymized data from live systems,” Wey tells IT Jungle. “Rocket DevOps test will be generally available at the end of Q2, but we’re making a beta available in April so customers have the opportunity to provide feedback about what features and functions would be most beneficial for the general release.”
Several plugins for popular open source tools are included in Rocket DevOps, such as for Git, which has become the defacto standard for source code version control management, and Jenkins, which is core technology used to enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). It also includes an add-on for JIRA, a proprietary issue tracking product from Atlassian that is considered the industry standard for agile project management.
Rocket also has a plug-in for Eclipse, the open source integrated development environment (IDE) that is at the core of IBM’s Rational Developer for i (RDi). The IBM i version of Lifecycle Manager also features integration with other popular 4GLs, like CA 2E (now owned by Broadcom), LANSA (now owned by IDERA), and AS/SET (which doesn’t appear to be supported by anyone anymore). There is also a hook for X-Analysis, the popular source code analysis tool owned by Fresche Solutions, as well as integration with JD Edwards (now owned by Oracle).
Rocket is highlighting its tools’ capability to bring non-IBM i professionals into the IBM i DevOps mix as a key selling point, particularly with the current employment environment. The personnel headwinds facing IBM i shops, such as pending retirements of older IBM i professionals and a general lack of IBM i skills in the pool of general-purpose IT talent, make Rocket DevOps more valuable, the Waltham, Massachusetts, company says.
“There’s an overarching theme across these updates about helping IBM i customers not only more easily find and retain talent but also make the most efficient use of the limited IBM i skills they have available,” Wey says. “Developers want to use the tools and processes they’ve found helpful in previous roles. Rocket DevOps enables [this] through bringing modern DevOps best practices (tools, process, etc.) to the IBM i. It also allows DevOps teams to focus their IBM i developer talent on the code, while enabling non-IBM i developers to engage in other parts of the IBM i+ DevOps environment.”
Rocket says its DevOps offering benefits customers by enabling them to attract developers that are interested in working in an “iterative development cycles that include automated testing.” The addition of automated testing for RPG and COBOL will also help its customers by giving them the automation and process control that will help foster an environment of experimentation.
“The talent shortage is impacting virtually every organization, and the best talent wants to work with modern DevOps tools and processes,” Katie Norton, a senior research analyst for DevOps at IDC, said in Rocket’s press release. “Attracting talent to work on IBM i applications, in particular, will remain a top priority for enterprises.”
In addition to rebranding the Aldon products into Rocket DevOps version 10, the company released a slew of new materials, including an 11-page white paper titled “CI/CD for IBM i+ DevOps: Enable Experimentation for Multi-code Environments.” More information on the product suite can be found on the company’s website