Top 5 Reasons to be Excited about Zowe


This article was written by David McNierney, member of the Zowe Technical Community and Product Marketing & Developer Marketing Leader at Broadcom Inc. It appeared on the Open Mainframe Project blog. The 3rd annual Open Mainframe Summit is September 21-22 in Philadelphia, PA.  It will be in-person and virtual. The schedule is now available and early-bird pricing ends on July 15. Learn more, see the agenda, and register here

The Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe initiative was born from an ambitious goal: make the mainframe a seamless, integrated part of the modern IT landscape — employing the same practices, tools and skillsets — without compromising its core attributes of stability, security and resiliency. Achieving this vision would address the growing talent crunch while helping enterprises modernize their mission-critical applications for today’s hybrid cloud world. It was exciting from the outset.

What better way to integrate the mainframe in this way than with open source, the technology that has fueled other paradigm-changing trends? Broadcom, IBM and Rocket Software discovered complementary initiatives across their organizations and, with the guidance and support of the Open Mainframe Project, Zowe was born. The framework, the first open source project for z/OS, opens the mainframe to popular practices like DevOps, languages like JavaScript and Python, and tools like CI/CD orchestrators.

Since then, Zowe’s trajectory has been extraordinary. Here are the top 5 reasons to be excited about the framework:

1) Extraordinary Growth

The user survey from the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2022 offers some eye-opening statistics: 19% of sites are already using Zowe (up from 10% last year) with a further 50% of sites planning to use it in the coming year (a big increase from 10% last year).

“Zowe, the open-source way of accessing mainframes, was introduced in 2018. 19 percent of sites said that they are already using this open-source technology, with a massive 50 percent of sites having plans to make use of it in the coming year. Open-source technology is now becoming commonplace on mainframes.”

“Perhaps Zowe will continue to help the mainframe to appear like any other server to a younger generation of programmers and managers.”

Key takeaway: don’t miss the bus!

2) Industry Recognition

Zowe won the Best DevOps for Mainframe award in this year’s DevOps Dozen competition, only 3 years after its introduction! Based on a combination of judging and popular voting, this recognition is particularly noteworthy because Zowe was selected over a number of well-established commercial offerings with large numbers of users. Chalk one up for the next-generation!

3) Robust Ecosystem

With over 70 conformant products, the Zowe ecosystem is fast growing with tools now spanning the application development, security and operations domains. In addition to leaders like Broadcom and IBM, vendors receiving badges for Zowe Conformance now include Micro Focus and BMC reflecting broader recognition of the framework’s value and customer demand. And another sign of a fast-maturing open source technology, conformant support providers are available to help users realize the full power of the ecosystem.

4) Existing User Base

Downloads of the Zowe CLI have exceeded 100,000 and Zowe Explorer for VS Code has exceeded 50,000. And Zowe z/OS Build downloads (server-side) have exceeded 5,000. These numbers appear to confirm the Arcati findings of increasing Zowe adoption and reflect an increasingly real-world-hardened solution.

5) Energized Community

The most important number of all is 501 — the number of contributors to this vibrant open source project. These contributors offer their time, expertise and energy to advance the Zowe cause to the benefit of everyone in the enterprise IT community. They contribute everything from documentation to architecture reviews to code and they come from many backgrounds and geographies. It takes a village, and this one is more energized than ever!

The onboarding of the mainframe as a seamless, integrated part of the hybrid cloud is well underway. The road is clear and recent evidence suggests a fast-approaching tipping point — a point at which Zowe transitions from an expanded toolkit for a few to the foundation of the hybrid cloud for all.

If you enjoyed this blog, checkout more Zowe blogs here or the Zowe website at You can also ask a question and join the conversation on the Open Mainframe Project Slack Channel #Zowe-dev, #Zowe-user or #Zowe-onboarding. If this is your first time using the Open Mainframe Project Slack, register here.

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