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Meet ZEBRA, Zowe Embedded Browser For RMF And APIs


Guest: Alex Kim (LinkedIn, Twitter) | Len Santalucia (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Project: Open Mainframe Project (LinkedIn, Twitter)

ZEBRA (Zowe Embedded Browser for RMF/SMF and APIs) is an open-source, incubation project by Open Mainframe Project‘s Zowe. The goal is to provide reusable and industry-compliant RMF data in JSON format, which developers can easily plug into other open source projects.

In this episode of TFiR Mainframe Matters, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Alex Kim, Open Source Incubator Advocate at IBM and ZEBRA Lead, and Len Santalucia, CTO at Vicom Infinity and Chair of the Open Mainframe Project Governing Board, to talk about the ZEBRA project and how it is helping people understand what is going on inside their mainframe environment.

Key highlights from this video interview:

  • Kim explains how the project came about: RMF and SMF system data traditionally help mainframe users understand how the mainframe is working and its usage. They wanted to use it for other open-source projects such as Grafana or MongoDB, but it would require translating it from one format to another. It would be useful to have a common language like JSON.
  • The new generation may not know all the history of the mainframe, but they understand basic computer architectures and use of the system. Kim feels that this type of project can help onboard newcomers since they can recognize the format from other open source programs.
  • ZEBRA is helping newcomers understand how well a system is performing and how well it is meeting its SLAs. Santalucia explains how modern tooling is helping reassure clients that the mainframe can continue regardless of the retirement of some of the veteran developers.
  • Santalucia states that they use their mainframe for proof-of-concepts, proof-of-technologies, and to try things out with IBM and other partners and why they leverage mainframe.
  • One of the biggest use cases they are seeing is to plug in the ZEBRA API into Grafana.
  • The Zowe project was created to help developers develop mainframe applications easier and to attract new developers. However, they also want to tackle this from a system programmer’s perspective. Kim feels that, eventually, the API mediation layer can have metric services that can show all the graphs within Zowe desktop.
  • Kim reiterates that they need more contributors to the ZEBRA community in the future so they can  add more functions to it. Santalucia concurs that clients have already thought of new functions that would be useful to introduce.

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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