Compuware has launched a new version of its Mainframe Workbench tool, which it claims can increase developer productivity and improve application performance management.

Workbench is an open development environment for the IBM mainframe. Compuware claims that the solution enables new-to-mainframe developers to support business critical mainframe applications quickly and effectively, by operating both a traditional green screen environment and in a familiar open development environment.

Enhancements in Workbench 3.1.6 include fast access to MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage) data, an enhanced Xpediter debugging capability, and the addition of mainframe application failure resolution tool Abend-AID 12.2.

Mainframe developers will also be able to avoid performance creep using mainframe application performance management solution Strobe 4.3, which now integrates with Compuware’s Workbench. Strobe 4.3 automatically measures batch jobs that exceed dynamically calculated thresholds, and customers can use Compuware’s Data Mining Interface (DMI) to view historical performance data from a variety of perspectives.

The release aims to help combat the mainframe skills shortage, which means that organisations are struggling to integrate new cloud and mobile applications with legacy mainframe applications. Compuware describes this as the “New Normal,” singling out the recent surge in mobile banking and other types of e-commerce as creating particular challenges.

“Mainframe applications power the top retailers, banks, insurance companies, telecommunications and manufacturing companies worldwide. At the same time, as experienced developers retire, fewer developers are acquiring the mainframe skills needed to maintain these complex applications. This puts enterprises at significant risk for financial losses,” said Kris Manery, senior vice president and general manager of Compuware's Mainframe Solutions Business Unit.

“It’s never been more important to have the tools and people in place to ensure mainframe applications deliver superior quality and performance,” he added.