Operating in a highly diverse IT environment, this Major Global Insurer’s application development team serve many business units with varying requirements. The core insurance policy application supports multiple brands. Eight different IT environments were set up to test and maintain business-critical COBOL, GUI, and Web applications. The environments consisted of different platforms, ranging from Windows to mainframe and various database solutions, such as DB2, SQL Server, and Oracle. Each environment cost US$3 million per annum to support and maintain.
The customer needed more mainframe capacity to meet new business requirements. It had acquired new companies, added mobile and web channels and in three years demand for new IT projects had trebled. However, the mainframe components of the environment did not scale and TCO for the mainframe environments was increasing every year. There was no appetite to increase spending on the mainframe and yet there wasn’t enough test and development capacity to meet the demand.
To meet business requirements, change requests had to be developed faster, but mainframe capacity constraints meant the customer couldn’t meet this challenge. It looked for alternatives to reduce the time it takes and the costs involved to provision and maintain new test environments.
Following a thorough cost analysis, the customer embarked on a strategic journey to the cloud, leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS), and a low cost, automated DevOps toolchain. The decision was made to create a virtual, full end-to-end, Windows-based continuous integration solution. This would accommodate the core mainframe policy and claims system, and web/ Java front-end and middle-tier applications.
Micro Focus technology was already in use and the customer was convinced that Micro Focus could help. It was extremely important to the customer that the environment configuration and deployment was kept as simple as possible to be successful. Every platform, operating system, and application must be deployed and configured through automation scripts and tools and all design elements must support both external and internal cloud-based deployments. Micro Focus Enterprise Test Server, Enterprise Developer for z, Enterprise Analyzer and Enterprise Sync supported these plans seamlessly.
With Enterprise Test Server low-cost Windows platforms are used for continuous integration and automated testing. This was particularly useful as the customer was starting a number of transformation projects which would each require 6-12 months of continuous development and testing resources. An effort that could not be supported using the existing mainframe test environments.
In order to further optimize the deployment pipeline for multiple projects, the customer needed to remove source code management bottlenecks and automate the build and release processes in line with the Java and mid-range applications. Enterprise Sync integrates with Enterprise Developer for z and the mainframe Endeavor SCM and also agile development technologies to enable faster and more efficient parallel development at scale, maximizing developer productivity. This is fundamental to accelerate the delivery of new functionality to the business.
35 virtual mainframe test environments hosted in an Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure increased test capacity without relying on mainframe resources. Automated development processes have enabled a more agile development environment to support continuous integration and test automation so that any issues are found early and higher quality applications are delivered to the business.
The flexibility to automatically provision Enterprise Test Server cloud-based environments has increased flexibility and IT capacity so that the customer can efficiently and effectively respond to business requirements. Mainframe tests run faster and more cost-efficient in the cloud infrastructure than they did in the mainframe environment.
Using the Micro Focus DevOps solutions the customer can provision new cloud-based test environments in two hours. This used to take six weeks on the mainframe and represents a massive cost saving. Testing time has halved and business agility has increased to support a tripling of the number of production releases. QA teams can now run testing on demand and get faster results, increasing confidence in the application and reducing the time to identify and fix any issues before go-live.
The customer has drastically increased development productivity and improved the output quality. Annual costs have reduced from US$3 million to US$120,000 per environment while time to market has decreased. This customer now has a scalable and agile infrastructure which allows it to meet business demands and respond to new market opportunities.