Modernizing Mainframes: The Z's Have It with Linux Foundation's Open Mainframe Project Breakthroughs

By Shrey Fadia, Analyst & Consultant  |  March 31, 2021

The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), a well-established open-source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, added ASG Technologies, BMC Software (News - Alert) and High School Technical Services as well as COBOL Check and ConzoleZ to its global community earlier this month.

Open Mainframe Project, which launched in 2015 by The Linux Foundation (News - Alert), is now comprised of 43 business and academic organizations.

A year of lock downs and other COVID-19 measures did not slow down momentum.

“Despite the pandemic, Open Mainframe Project experienced record growth over the past year,” said John Mertic, Director of Program Management at the Linux Foundation. “We more than doubled the number of projects hosted and that is a direct result of the commitment and talent of our members and contributors. Their passions are pushing projects to meet technical milestones and members are collaborating on governance, which has helped Open Mainframe solidify our role as the premiere resource for devops technology and education.”

And while cloud, containers and micro services continue to generate more media coverage in industry, the fact is that COBOL is evolving to support the acceleration of all three. It is widely estimated that there is 200 billion lines of code being used today, and that with projects like the Open Mainframe Project, the technology is constantly being updated to support a more open approach to mainframe-based computing.

COBOL Check enables unit testing for COBOL applications, including those hosted on IBM (News - Alert) Z systems, and supports micro testing off-platform on Windows, OS X, Linux, or Unix. For developers, COBOL Check will reduce code modifications and offers a shorter lead time to production. This new project will work hand-in-hand with the other COBOL initiatives under the Open Mainframe Project including the COBOL Training Course and the COBOL Working Group.

The Open Mainframe Project team reports that it has no dependencies on resources hosted on the Z system, which makes it easy to implement and key to supporting future technologies.

ConsoleZ strives to modernize Linux on Z by offering a new open source tool for z/VM and zLinux. It is a web user interface that gives browser access to z/VM console data and CP commands, while limiting access to certain teams. It can save more time and resources so teams don’t have to interact with many z/VM LPARs. ConsoleZ is secure, efficient and has a better user interface.

“The world’s largest organizations continue to rely on the mainframe,” said Jeff Boatright, Senior Vice President, Development at ASG Technologies. “As they accelerate digital transformation, advancing the mainframe ecosystem is more critical than ever. We’re thrilled to join Open Mainframe Project and contribute our expertise in enabling organizations to modernize mainframe culture, processes and tools and to empower the next generation of mainframe professionals.”

“We’re excited to bring the combined expertise and experience of BMC, Compuware (News - Alert), and RSM Partners to the Open Mainframe Project to support ongoing innovation on the mainframe,” said John McKenny, SVP and General Manager of ZSolutions at BMC. “With mainframe processing and transaction levels increasing in most industries, there is an increased need for compute power to support mission critical applications, and mainframe modernization is absolutely critical. We have a deep relationship and history of collaboration with the Open Mainframe Project and look forward to working with other members for an open source future of the mainframe.”

“Through our live events and training services, we teach how to build and manage mainframe applications and promote best practices for mainframe design, development and maintenance,” said Matt Zand, Program Manager for High School Technology Services. “As a provider of advanced training to students and adults, HSTS is excited about partnering with Open Mainframe Project and contributing to the education and training projects like Mainframe Open Education, the COBOL Training Course and the Mentorship Program.”

The new members will collaborate on vendor-neutral open source projects with the mission of building community and adoption of open source on the mainframe. The project strives to build an inclusive community through investment in open source projects and programs, career development, and events that provide opportunities for the mainframe community to collaborate and create sustainability.

With a vision of Open Source (News - Alert) on the Mainframe as the standard for enterprise class systems and applications, the project’s mission is to build community and adoption of Open Source on the mainframe by eliminating barriers to Open Source adoption on the mainframe, demonstrating value of the mainframe on technical and business levels, and strengthening collaboration points and resources for the community to thrive. Learn more about the project at

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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