SIBRA GmbH cuts developer effort by at least 50 percent

IBM Rational software keeps a vital project within budget and on time

Published on 29-Mar-2013

"With Rational Asset Analyzer, you can see all the statements that are affected and the complexity of the required changes. You can minimize project risk, and the project planning is nearly perfect.… So the project will be within budget and on time." - Eberhard Ramm, owner and chief executive officer, SIBRA

Customer:
SIBRA GmbH

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Enterprise Modernization, System z Software

Overview

Founded in 1980, SIBRA GmbH provides a broad range of technology services, including development, consulting, project management, research, analysis and design. Located in Gröbenzell, Germany, near Munich, the company has proven expertise working with various operating systems, databases, programming languages and network protocols.

Business need:
SIBRA needed a source code analyzer tool to identify in mainframe applications all instances of a serial number and its relationship to other data fields caused by moves and redefinitions.

Solution:
SIBRA used IBM Rational software to create an inventory of the affected applications and perform impact analyses to get work item lists, gaining an overview of the changes’ quantity and complexity.

Benefits:
Performing this research manually would have taken 10 to 20 times longer than it did using Rational software and would have been less thorough, introducing more risk to the project.

Case Study

Founded in 1980, SIBRA GmbH provides a broad range of technology services, including development, consulting, project management, research, analysis and design. Located in Gröbenzell, Germany, near Munich, the company has proven expertise working with various operating systems, databases, programming languages and network protocols.

Making a change that affects thousands of programs
SIBRA has worked with a major manufacturer for more than 10 years, providing support for the company’s mainframe computers, compilers, databases and development environments. Around 1978, the manufacturer established four-digit serial numbers for its products. But when the company approached its 8,000th model, it realized it was going to run out of available serial numbers. “Now they are nearly at 8,000, so they have to do something to extend the serial number field,” says Eberhard Ramm, owner and chief executive officer at SIBRA. However, the manufacturers’ more than 7,000 mainframe programs all include references to this serial number, so changing it required significant analysis and planning.

The manufacturer asked SIBRA to acquire an appropriate source code analyzer tool that it could use to identify all instances of the serial number in its mainframe applications, as well as its IBM® DB2® data servers and IBM Information Management System databases. SIBRA and the manufacturer performed a market analysis and found two potential products, submitting questionnaires to two companies: IBM and EZLegacy. Based on questionnaire results, SIBRA recommended that the company use IBM Rational® Asset Analyzer for System z® software to address its serial number extension. Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software provides built-in support for the DB2 data servers and Information Management System databases. Plus, IBM offered support for job control language (JCL) and the compilers that the company uses. “In Java, you have these tools everywhere, but not on the mainframe. The mainframe, with COBOL, with PL/1, with Assembler, it’s difficult to find powerful and large-scale tools,” says Ramm.

Quickly identifying and updating mainframe applications
Using Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software to do an impact analysis helps developers, in just a few minutes, get an overview of the dependencies and details involved in making an update such as the serial number extension. “A developer can then choose a variable declaration that he knows represents the serial number and start an impact analysis,” says Ramm. “This returns all the programs, variables/fields and subsystem items that interact with the developer’s chosen variable.”

In approximately three weeks, SIBRA gathered a comprehensive inventory of the applications that the serial number extension affected. Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software stored and managed all the information gathered on a central DB2 data server, where developers from across the enterprise could access it. Then, within four weeks and working on weekends only, SIBRA performed the initial load of the repository, scanning approximately 7,200 programming language one (PL/1) programs; 100 assembler language programs; a few COBOL programs; DB2 data servers; Information Management System databases and transactions; and all referenced Include, Copy and Macro libraries. Finally, SIBRA scanned a batch of JCL files including 6,000 jobs.

“Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software automatically scans the source programs and subsystems on System z and stores the meta information in a DB2 repository. Additionally, we use the Rational Asset Analyzer batch interface to send a scan request for each changed and released program to keep the repository current,” says Ramm. “With Rational Asset Analyzer, you can see all the statements that are affected and the complexity of the required changes. You can minimize project risk, and the project planning is nearly perfect. You do not forget anything. So the project will be within budget and on time.”

After identifying the code changes, developers can then use IBM Rational Developer for System z software to change the actual code. Eclipse technology-based interfaces between Rational Asset Analyzer for System z and Rational Developer for System z software help developers make these code changes using the same user interface, through an integrated Eclipse workspace.

Saving large amounts of time while reducing risk and improving accuracy
Using Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software, SIBRA was able to update the serial number in a prototype scenario approximately 50 percent faster than it would have using other tools. Performing the analysis manually would have taken 10 to 20 times longer than it did using the Rational software, and the manual approach would have introduced more risk and yielded a less thorough result.

Ramm anticipates that the manufacturers’ developers will have ample opportunity to use the Rational Asset Analyzer for System z application in the future. “Sometimes we use it for diagnosis or to find errors,” he says, “because when you have a problem with a field in the program, you can look to see where it’s used, which programs and which statements. You’ll see where the program is going wrong. The tool is very powerful. You can search for nearly everything.”

For more information
To learn more about IBM Rational Asset Analyzer for System z software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/products/us/en/raa

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
Rational Asset Analyzer for System z, Rational Developer for System z

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America March 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Rational and System z are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.