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Zowe: the first years – my personal experience


As frequently happen, time flows quickly, and it is already 5 years that #Zowe was announced! Back in March, I was in Atlanta attending the #share conference and I attended the panel session “Zowe: The First Five Years”. In my current role, Principal Product Manager at IBM focused on Zowe since the beginning of last year, I cannot miss it. Moreover, I was curious to listen to the panel and review the successes of Zowe project in its first five years.

I was aware of the first announcement of Zowe, it was along the Share conference in St. Louis, August 2018, … I was there. I was not completely aware of what triggered the signing of the Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between IBM, Rocket and Broadcom back in November 2017. Everything was started by “3 vendors walking to a bank” (as Peter Fandel joked) … In late 2017, IBM, Rocket and Broadcom independently presented to the same mutual customer their view for a mainframe modernization. The customer (a bank) said that each of company had a partial view of modernization, each approach was good, but each was not complete and suggested to bring together the efforts to really be successful in the mission to modernize the z/OS platform … it triggered the JDA and – after proving the technologies could be integrated - the start of Zowe open-source project under Linux Foundation, that was formally started from Open Mainframe Project at the Open Source Summit in Vancouver, Canada on August 28th, 2018.

 I enjoyed the panel session about the first 5 years of Zowe and it trigger in me some reflections about my own personal experience with Zowe that I have decided to share in this blog.

I realized the power of this framework of services, the interest that could be generated in mainframe users, enabling an easier access to z/OS resources from familiar and modern interfaces. So, I started some investigations and analysis on how the product I was owning as product manager at that time can exploit Zowe, extend it, creating an ecosystem that is beneficial for the end users.

Along the time I worked with the product teams to have extensions for Zowe in IBM Z Workload Scheduler, IBM Z System Automation, IBM Z NetView and IBM Z JCL Expert, documenting the new capabilities in multiple blogs. Along the 2022 I found important even to show the different Zowe Plugins in action, documenting user scenarios leveraging them in blogs and recorded demo. I made it for IBM Z Workload Scheduler Zowe CLI plugin in this blog, for IBM Z NetView Zowe CLI Plugin in this other blog and for IBM Z System Automation Zowe CLI plugin in this other blog and finally for IBM Z JCL Expert in this blog.

Zowe Chat Incubator project

As Product Manager of Zowe, in May 2022, when the Zowe Chat incubator was approved by the Open Mainframe Project Zowe open-source community, as announced in this blog from @Bruce Armstrong, I focused my attention on this incubator project, leading the Zowe Chat team from product management point of view. Zowe Chat grants to Zowe a new way to interact with z/OS resources, from the chat tool already in use and can make you more productive, as documented in this blog I published in September last year.

Wrap-up and final considerations

You can find more about my personal experience in the last five years in this blog, published on Open Mainframe Summit web site. As you can read there, I contributed initially as “extenders” of Zowe, through the enhancements delivered on the IBM commercial products I owned over time as Product Manager, I am happy to have enriched the Zowe ecosystem, later I became an active member of the Open Mainframe Project Zowe community, and I am still enjoying this job assignment. I truly believe that Zowe helps the vitality of the platform, I was in Toronto last week, delivering another session about Zowe, the basic and the latest enhancement. Along the session I joked about the features available in the ISPF panels … and how they are easy to use vs the Zowe Explorer. I am now using on daily basis the Zowe Explorer to manage my dataset on z/OS and … if I think of my first impact with them back in 1999 when I joined IBM … I am 100% sure that my learning curve and productivity with such a tool would have been so much better with Zowe Explorer. In the room there were experienced mainframers as well as younger ones … based on the feedback I received during the session and after it, there is a general consensus about the value that Zowe bring on the platform. 
Recently I became an Open Mainframe Project Ambassador, I am honored of this assignment and I will continue to contribute to Zowe as community member, sharing the news about this great open-source project. If you like to hear more from me, follow me on LinkedIn where I am used to post short blogs about latest news on Zowe or sessions coming and happened.

If I can get involved in Zowe you can too – it has been great for my professional growth and my career. Moreover, I have made countless professional contacts in the z/OS ecosystem, inside and outside my company, different perspectives and valuable point of view.

I am very proud to say I am a Zoweian!

Zowe is a trademark of the Linux Foundation.
#Zowe#OpenMainframeProjects  #opensource #ibmz