March 2, 2020 — BMC Software acquires Compuware. According to the press announcement:

The strategic combination of BMC and Compuware will build upon the success of BMC Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) and the Topaz suite, ISPW technology, and classic product portfolios from Compuware to further modernize the mainframe industry.”

At Forrester, we see this as a continuation of a trend with DevOps and the DevOps tools market and, in some ways, a milestone. This move by BMC has sent a clear signal that DevOps has shifted from the broad adoption phase to the massive adoption phase. DevOps has become table stakes for every enterprise; whether they operate in the cloud or on a mainframe, they need to adopt DevOps to remain relevant, let alone be competitive. Yet adopting DevOps for many organizations, especially those with mainframes, has been a challenge.

In many organizations, there is a push for scaling existing DevOps practices. CIOs have realized their digital transformations get stuck if they don’t modernize their core systems, many of which run on mainframes. What are their options? If DevOps doesn’t scale on mainframes, too, where modernization of the core is an impediment, core will all move to the cloud. The bet of BMC and Compuware is to scale DevOps on the mainframe like any other platform. We like this move by BMC for the following reasons:


  • Adding Compuware’s Topaz software development environment to the BMC portfolio is another step in the direction of targeting the enterprise developer. BMC’s Control-M is already targeting developers who have adopted a culture of “you write it, you own it.” With Topaz, developers take a modern approach to building, testing, and deploying mainframe applications. This move should allow BMC to spread the word that modern tools matter for the mainframe engineer.


  • There is a small but growing number of “mainframe unicorns”: companies that are investing, and succeeding, at bringing DevOps practices to the mainframe. Since mainframe use is growing, not shrinking (50% of respondents in our Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics® Infrastructure Survey, 2019, said they plan to grow their use of mainframe over the next two years), it behooves enterprises to make the platform be as accessible as possible to modern developers.


  • The last few years have seen a growing consolidation of DevOps players. Whether it’s value stream management, continuous delivery release automation, or infrastructure automation, there are far too many players (both enterprise and open source). Expect further consolidation as developers rationalize their toolchains and keep pushing vendors to offer complete end-to-end solutions.


What it means: The ideals of an Agile-plus-DevOps methodology are enabled by systems of automation, and for that part, this deal will help bring modern development tools to a greater audience of mainframe users, which is good. But bringing the tools won’t be enough if CEOs and CIOs aren’t willing to invest in modernization efforts within their mainframe teams. And we don’t mean modernizing in the sense that you are replacing mainframe — for many organizations, that simply is not prudent. We are talking about changing the culture of scaling Agile and DevOps to include your mainframe team. Eliminate those old myths about two-speed IT, and get everyone practicing modern application delivery.