IT Management

“TPF shops [can now] use software developers coming out of college who already have exposure to tools such as Eclipse,” says IBM’s Bill Suppan, TPF technical consulting IT specialist. “We’re also wrapping legacy Assembler code in SOA and Web services, which makes that native code easier for new developers to incorporate.”

Of course, that’s all good news for long-time TPF customers such as Marriott International, a company now in the midst of moving to z/TPF, and IHG, which is considering following Marriott’s example.

Marriott’s Migration

Processing business at the rate of $3,000 per second, Marriott relies on TPF to drive its worldwide hotel reservation system. The company uses a System z9 with five CPUs dedicated to TPF.

“We also share a z/VM LPAR with TPF guest systems for application and performance testing purposes,” says Misha Kravchenko, vice president of Reservation Systems, Information Resources.

Kravchenko explains how, in the z/VM environment, TPF applications are taken after unit testing and then run through workload tests that have been carefully scripted beforehand.

“We check the applications for performance, we regression test, and we perform final QA [Quality Assurance] on TPF applications,” says Kravchenko. “The z/VM environment on System z allows us to easily do this.”

Each TPF program has its own copy for testing purposes, and Marriott developers use CMS to edit code under z/VM. Marriott IT is making a gradual transition to newer development tools both to leverage the benefits of open tools such as Eclipse and to ease concerns about staffing issues.

“We’re migrating to open toolsets in a little longer timeframe than normal,” says Kravchenko, “But we’re coordinating this transition while we move to z/TPF, and we’re also incorporating in-house staff training in the new methodology as part of this transition.”

Marriott IT plans to migrate production to z/TPF in 2010; they recently converted internal staff to z/TPF development using Eclipse. The migration plan isn’t without certain challenges.

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