SHARE St. Louis: Previewing Open Source Tools with Jerry Edgington

What kinds of open source and vendor tools are available to help mainframers modernize z/OS development? At SHARE St. Louis (Aug. 12-17), we’ll hear from Jerry Edgington, Senior Systems Analyst at Western & Southern Financial Group, about the various tools available and what can be done with multi-vendor solutions.

We spoke to Jerry to get a preview of his upcoming session, “DevOps for Mainframe Using Open Source Tools.”

Could you describe your background? How long have you been involved in SHARE?

I’ve been doing z/OS for 30+ years. I came up through the operations area, then IT, then got into systems. I have experience with various platforms. I am now a senior technical analyst at Western & Southern Financial Group – I’ve been here a couple months, helping out with z/OS, z/VM, etc.

I’ve been attending SHARE conferences for around 20 years. A couple years ago, when they started the DevOps project, I went to see some of their sessions. I was approached and asked to volunteer. So I started volunteering and then eventually started presenting.

At SHARE St. Louis, you’re leading a session on DevOps and open source tools – can you explain why this is such an important topic to cover?

We haven’t changed the mainframe development environment in over 20 years. It’s time to push forward and modernize. Many organizations think the mainframe isn’t viable anymore, though it’s key to many of the world’s largest businesses.

I’ll talk about this more in my session, but there are a number of reasons to use open source tools to help modernize mainframe development. First there’s cost, because the open source tools license model is usually less expensive than traditional mainframe licensing. Then there’s compatibility, or one toolset for developers. Many shops have some form of Eclipse IDE running. That and other open source tools allow developers to develop software using an interface many of them are already accustomed to using.

What I’m trying to show attendees is that you don’t have to have a one-vendor solution when it comes to modernization. You can use a combination of open systems with vendor solutions. You don’t have to invest in expensive mainframe-only tools. Instead, you can use the open source tools you may already have running on the distributed side.

From your experience teaching these courses, what are the biggest or most frequent roadblocks that mainframe pros run into?

Adoption is going to be the biggest challenge. Just getting mainframers off ISPF is hard. People who have been working on the mainframe for many years know what to do and how to do it with the existing tools. Both toolsets may need to coexist for some period of time to ease the transition.

What do you hope attendees walk away with from your session?

I want attendees to understand that you don’t have to go with a single-vendor solution. That’s one of my biggest messages. I also want session attendees to start looking at open source. There’s a lot of open source that’s already out there that doesn’t cost mainframe dollars or MIPS, and I want attendees to know about the possibilities out there. At the very least, come attend my session and we can have a discussion about it.

Be sure to join us at SHARE St. Louis, August 12-17, for even more on DevOps and mainframe modernization. Edgington will host “DevOps for Mainframe Using Open Source Tools” Wednesday, August 15 from 8:30 am to 9:30 am – log in here to save his course to your SHARE profile.

Disclaimer: The postings on are those of Jerry Edgington and do not represent in any way Western & Southern Financial Group's (including its member companies) positions, strategies or opinions. The information contained on is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or as a recommendation of any particular strategy or investment product from Western & Southern Financial Group. This profile should not be considered as a solicitation for services by Western & Southern Financial Group.


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