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BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench is #1 ranked solution in top Mainframe Application Development tools. PeerSpot users give BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench an average rating of 9.0 out of 10. BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench is most commonly compared to IBM Rational Developer for z Systems: BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench vs IBM Rational Developer for z Systems. BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 88% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a financial services firm, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench?

Topaz Workbench provides an intuitive interface that enables developers of all experience levels to initiate Compuware’s industry-leading developer tools, Abend-AID, File-AID, HiperstationXpediter and Strobe, as well as non-Compuware products and distributed solutions in the same environment.

Through Topaz Workbench, mainframe teams can:

  • Access Compuware development tools, providing the ability to visualize complex application logic and data relationships, make changes to code, test and debug, and performance tune
  • Leverage existing Eclipse frameworks and integrations with popular open-system tools
  • Manage source code and promote artifacts through the development lifecycle via integration with ISPW
  • Leverage a multi-language, multi-platform source code editor
  • Use JES functions like job submission, review, print and purge
  • Use Host Explorer for z/OS navigation, including dataset management (i.e., allocation, recall, deletion); build mainframe projects to isolate and quickly access files associated with a unit of work
  • Copy files from one LPAR to another with a simple drag and drop or right click; data is compressed and the processing is zIIP enabled for optimal performance
  • Leverage integrations with other industry-leading tools
BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench Customers

Erste Group

BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench Video

Archived BMC Compuware Topaz Workbench Reviews (more than two years old)

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Advanced Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The debugging is really the most important feature. I think some of the stability issues may have been the way it was installed but it seems to be working now.

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is debugging using Xpediter.

What is most valuable?

The debugging is really the most important feature, enabling us to be able to step through.

What needs improvement?

Part of it is just getting used to using it. It's completely different from what I'm used to, going from a TSO interface to a GUI. I find it more cumbersome to use Topaz.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think some of the issues we've had may have been the way it was installed. We did have some issues but it seems to be working now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, I really haven't dealt with it at that level. It's pretty much been one-for-one types of situations, either batch jobs calling one program or intercepting one program in CICS.

How are customer service and support?

Compuware tech support seems to be okay. For the most part, if I have any issues I turn it over to someone here and then they get in touch with the vendor and then they have had me get on and do a shared session where they can watch what I'm doing. So they have been fairly reactive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Compuware Xpediter before, on the mainframe. I switched because we were told to switch. It was a management directive.

How was the initial setup?

It wasn't complicated. They did come in and give training and it pretty much worked okay.

What other advice do I have?

I really don't have any advice, I haven't used it enough.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Lead Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
I am unable to convert REXX into usable macros for this solution, though its Xpediter is more flexible than through MVS
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of Topaz is Xpediter. It's more flexible than Xpediter through MVS."
  • "The ability to edit source code that has special characters is limited. The ability to incorporate or convert REXX into macros that are usable under the Topaz software is not there. And the REXX macros that I have developed over 40 years of work are useless, so I have a toolbox I can't use or deploy using the Topaz technology, while I can use it under MVS."
  • "It's not as intuitive as it should be. In terms of navigation, there is a large training curve for using it. For a millennial it might be better, if they're used to Eclipse. But coming from a non-Eclipse environment and using Eclipse, though I have experience with Eclipse, it might be cumbersome."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use is programming, database design, and development.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of Topaz is Xpediter. It's more flexible than Xpediter through MVS.

What needs improvement?

The ability to edit source code that has special characters is limited. 

The ability to incorporate or convert REXX into macros that are usable under the Topaz software is not there. And the REXX macros that I have developed over 40 years of work are useless, so I have a toolbox I can't use or deploy using the Topaz technology, while I can use it under MVS.

It's not as intuitive as it should be. In terms of navigation, there is a large training curve for using it. For a millennial it might be better, if they're used to Eclipse. But coming from a non-Eclipse environment and using Eclipse, though I have experience with Eclipse, it might be cumbersome. I still use the mainframe Xpediter, because I find it's less cumbersome to navigate to.

If Compuware resolves some of the issues of converting REXX into macros that are supported under the Topaz Edit function, the ability to support ISPF picture edits, and the ability to simulate some of the things that the mainframe can do on Topaz, that would be great.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I constantly encounter stability issues. That might be related to how it's installed. We're going through VDI sessions. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have had no issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is fairly responsive. Some of the replies are, "Wait until the next release." And some of the replies are, "This feature, it will not be supported until further notice."

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched to Topaz because our management deemed it was a tool that might benefit us in the future. Our mainframe programmer is retiring and leaving the company.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is done through our tech support group, and we are then given the platform to run. The tech support group is not dedicated to Topaz and, while there is one contact within that group, they are stressed and the resources available for Topaz are not as complete as they could be or should be. So installation is hit or miss - whatever Compuware drops down and can help install and attach.

What other advice do I have?

It might be of benefit if there were training for, and incorporation of, millennials and new people coming in to work on the mainframe through an Eclipse environment. But as far as people who are already familiar with the mainframe, this solution has some big drawbacks.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Senior Assistant Analyst at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Leaderboard
It helps our staff work by speeding up their documentation process, but it often doesn't play well with other plugins in the environment.
Pros and Cons
  • "It helps our staff work by speeding up their documentation process."
  • "Once we got the configurations and deployment rolled out, it was very stable. I haven't had any major issues with Eclipse or the Topaz Workbench plugins."
  • "It often doesn't play well with other plugins in the environment."
  • "It would be nice to have an audit trail to see what mainframe developers are using what."
  • "It would be good if the vendors would work together or at least have some collaboration between them, so they would know what would work and what wouldn't work. Right now, the way things are working, they're relying on the customer to make everything work."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary goal wasn't using Topaz Workbench. Our primary goal was to satisfy people in cyber security roles. We just included it because people were using the product a little bit here. What we did was rolled everything up, taking all the plugins from other third-party vendors into the Eclipse state, then put those in as plugins.

With our environment, we have taken the core clutch open source software and added a third-party vendor plugin into Eclipse. We use the Topaz Workbench, but not for any insights in the programs. The software that we have today is still a basic level mainframe software integration in the total Eclipse environment. We haven't taken advantage of any new features or tools which are out there for any Eclipse-based tools.

How has it helped my organization?

The byproduct of setting our Eclipse up for cybersecurity should allow newer developers to work, who are used to this type of environment.

It helps our staff work by speeding up their documentation process.

What is most valuable?

From a development point of view, we use it to log documentation and edit steps. The documentation is easy to read and our developers can add information into documents simultaneously.

We are also using the Topaz Workbench Host Communications Interface with its data sets. 

What needs improvement?

I would look for more cooperation between the vendors and using Eclipse the way Eclipse is meant to be used. Topaz Workbench often doesn't play well with other plugins in the environment. It would be good if the vendors would work together or at least have some collaboration between them, so they would know what would work and what wouldn't work. Right now, the way things are working, they're relying on the customer to make everything work.

I would like to see the features include more integration or help customers when working with Jenkins. 

It would be nice to have an audit trail to see what mainframe developers are using what.

We are trying to get more people to use the product at the moment. I would like to expand its usage because it is a good product for development.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Once we got the configurations and deployment rolled out, it was very stable. I haven't had any major issues with Eclipse or the Topaz Workbench plugins.

I don't know which vendor plugins didn't like the other vendor plugins. I needed to get to the bottom of it. However, we just started the next release of it, and the components seem to be a lot better this time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't had any scalability issues. As it is on the desktop, scalability is not relevant. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of Eclipse was straightforward. However, the problems were more complex because of all the third-party competing vendor products. So, getting it set up and installed was easy, but getting it rolled out was a bit difficult because of some of the configurations going to people's work spaces.

We didn't roll it out the way a normal Eclipse works. We rolled out select PT Plugins, then uninstalled and reinstalled. The last one we did, we had to rollout the binary and a new set of Eclipse Workspace because of some configuration issues. This made it more complex. I don't know if it was an issue because of Topaz Workbench or an issue between the third-party vendors plugins not working well together. So, I can't say if it was Topaz Workbench,

What about the implementation team?

I do all the deployment and maintenance.

What was our ROI?

It has saved our developers time and effort when working on documentation, which is now more readable and fluent.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In general, Compuware tools are very competitive.

As far as features, I want it to have all the nice features, like the automative testing and all the different components, but we didn't pay for them. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are using a competitive product to obtain intelligent insights.

What other advice do I have?

The Topaz Workbench is easy to use with good plugins. I would recommend people use it, but I would install it as a solution, not as a standalone. Get a single pane of glass for all your developers.

We don't have an automated unit testing solution. It's all manually based for the mainframe. Currently, we don't have an automated testing testing. We may look to adding this feature in the future. However, we have some challenges because we are still mainframe-centric, so the SCMs on the mainframe don't click well with other tools.

The solution should expand in the next couple of years as the company struggles to get developers to do COBOL.

The solution was rolled out through mainframe developers only. Topaz workbench is one of the most integrated into Eclipse that I've seen from the mainframe vendors. For example, some of the other vendors don't use the Eclipse functionalities.

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

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Systems Programmer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Leaderboard
Helps reduce the learning curve for younger people coming in to work on the platform
Pros and Cons
  • "It's a modernized development portal and helps reduce the learning curve for younger people coming in to work on the platform,"

    What is our primary use case?

    It's an optional feature that our users are able to use for mainframe development and data analysis.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has been an optional feature. It hasn't been very heavily used, so I don't really have a concrete example of how it has improved our organization. We are trying to ramp it up as we get more DevOps initiatives in the company.

    What is most valuable?

    • Modernized development portal
    • Helps reduce the learning curve for younger people coming in to work on the platform

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We haven't had any stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Again, it's had a low-utilization rate. We haven't really had any stress test of it.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    They have good tech support.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not the primary one to install it. We do have to go through our corporate installation procedures, and that's probably more of a challenge than working with the install itself.

    It was probably of moderate complexity. It installed a little bit differently than other mainframe products with its web servers and things like that. I don't really know how to rate it complexity-wise.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    In terms of pricing, there isn't an extra charge for the parts of it we use. It comes with the licenses we purchased for other products, so no complaints there. The licensing is built in with the other products that you purchase from Compuware.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Although I haven't evaluated the IBM option or the CA option, those ones have extra licensing fees, unlike the Compuware solution.

    What other advice do I have?

    Focus a lot on user training, anything you can do to enhance the user learning and utilization of it. It is a switch from traditional mainframe tools, so it does take time to work on the training.

    Overall, I give it a nine out of ten. It's pretty well implemented and documented. I know they are continuing to add features to it. Some of their products aren't up to full functionality, to what they have on the mainframe, but they are working on that. They are constantly adding new features.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    PeerSpot user
    Jason Shewbert - PeerSpot reviewer
    Lead Mainframe Systems Programming Analyst at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Leaderboard
    File editing/browsing and the debugging features help onboard developers who are new to the mainframe environment
    Pros and Cons
      • "The area for improvement is related to the testing tools that are available for unit testing or acceptance testing. I know they have some out there that we are not licensed for at this time, but it seems like some of the Eclipse tools that are used for other programming languages, they're all just built-in and they're a little more intuitive to the developers. Making those testing tools as intuitive as possible, and as integrated as possible into the workbench, would be really beneficial."

      What is our primary use case?

      Our developers use the tool for application development.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It's helping onboard application developers who might be new to the mainframe environment. Whether they're interns or global development resources, they might be new to the mainframe environment, and giving them this Eclipse tool to use, instead of having to learn the traditional mainframe interfaces, has helped them with that onboarding process.

      What is most valuable?

      The most important features are the file editing and browsing features. They are essential to an application developer; those are functions they have to be able to do. Having some nice features related to those activities really helps them. 

      Also, the debugging capabilities are important. Again, they are essential to application developers.

      What needs improvement?

      The area for improvement is related to the testing tools that are available for unit testing or acceptance testing. I know they have some out there that we are not licensed for at this time, but it seems like some of the Eclipse tools that are used for other programming languages, they're all just built-in and they're a little more intuitive to the developers. Making those testing tools as intuitive as possible, and as integrated as possible into the workbench, would be really beneficial.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      One to three years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      We have not encountered any stability issues so far. We've gone through two upgrades and we haven't had any issues with the upgrades. If anything, I'm having a hard time keeping up. They put out releases quarterly, and sometimes those quarterly releases have some really nice features, but the process for me to bring that software in, test it, and then roll it out to our end-users, makes it difficult for me to keep up with the rate at which they're putting out releases. But we haven't had any stability problems with it at all.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We did initially encounter some scalability issues. When we first started bringing it in at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, its memory requirements were pretty substantial, and some of our developers - the machines that they were working on at the time - were running into memory issues. It would run very slowly or they would have to restart or it would hang. But since we've upgraded our developer machines, at end-of service - our routine process - and they've gotten additional memory on their machines, we haven't had that problem anymore.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      As far as the software vendors that I work with go, Compuware has some of the best support, in terms of listening to customer requests and accepting enhancements to the product and the like. We haven't had many issues with Topaz Workbench where I had to open problem tickets. The problems that we discover in Topaz Workbench are usually attributed to some other product. But their support is some of the best that I deal with.

      Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

      Topaz is the only Eclipse-based developer solution that we've had at UPS.

      How was the initial setup?

      Initially, it was fairly complicated. Topaz leverages the functionality from other products quite a bit, and the setup issues were attributed to those other products: things that we didn't have in place, we didn't have installed, we didn't have configured. I spent a lot of time going through the features of Topaz that were not working, trying to find which product it was that was missing a configuration step or a setup step. That took me the better part of six to eight months to get it all ironed out.

      It was fairly complicated to get all of the features and functions working. As far as Topaz itself goes, they're just built-in and expected to work, but as I said, those features are really attributed to other products, the setup and configuration that's required for those products. But since we've gone through those initial setups, doing upgrades and doing maintenance has been really straightforward. There has really not been a lot to do in the configuration and setup portions.

      What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

      Topaz Workbench is included in our Enterprise Agreement. They've been great as far as letting us deploy it to as many users as we want.

      The only thing I would mention related to the licensing and/or the pricing is that they have some visualization features in there that are licensed by concurrent users. We're starting to trip up on that. We're looking to probably increase the number of concurrent licenses that we have. But those types of licensing strategies, where they license by concurrent users or the number of seats, are confusing for some people. They don't understand why it works sometimes and doesn't work other times.

      It would be much easier if it was licensed a little differently than that. To try and explain to my end-users why certain features don't work some of the time but other times they do, it's a little confusing, and it's because of that concurrent user license strategy.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      We didn't evaluate other products before choosing this product. The product was included in an Enterprise Agreement. When it was included in our agreement, we were not shopping for an Eclipse-based product like this. When we did need one, it was the one that we had and I think we got lucky, because I have seen competitors' products and I think Topaz from Compuware is far above and beyond its competitors.

      What other advice do I have?

      Pay attention to the installation of those back-end products. Topaz leverages the features and functions of a lot of mainframe-based products, so you really have to make sure that those other Compuware products are installed and that they're configured properly. You can spend a lot of time trying to research why features of Topaz are not working, and it turns out that it's really a feature of another product that you don't have installed or configured properly.

      I rate it as an eight out of ten. The only reason I wouldn't rate it as a ten is because of those initial setup difficulties that we had and because the system requirements for the tool were, initially, pretty lofty. It's a pretty memory-extensive application to run on your workstation. But I think that's common to a lot of Eclipse-based products like this. I don't think it's necessarily a Topaz issue, it's more of an Eclipse issue. The lighter weight they can make it, the better it is for companies like us which have to push it out to hundreds of users, potentially.

      Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
      PeerSpot user
      reviewer945231 - PeerSpot reviewer
      reviewer945231User with 201-500 employees
      Vendor

      Jason, thank you for the feedback. We are always looking for way to improve Topaz and our mainframe product suite in general based off valuable feedback from our customers. In regards to testing, this is an area we continue to focus on with major new capabilities each quarter in our Topaz for Total Test product to cover both automated unit testing and automated functionality testing.

      Torrie McLaughlin - PeerSpot reviewer
      Mainframe Systems Programmer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
      Real User
      Leaderboard
      Speeds up processes, makes the use of a mainframe that much easier
      Pros and Cons
      • "From a user perspective, the GUIs make it easier for people to see and interact with files on the mainframe."
      • "I'm always looking for improvement in things like the documentation, to make things a little bit easier and simpler to understand, a place where people can go to troubleshoot issues."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use it with mainframe. I'm a mainframe systems programmer, so we install the Compuware product onto the mainframe for our end users.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It speeds up processes, makes things easier, more efficient. From a mainframe perspective, the way the mainframe is utilized has become that much easier.

      What is most valuable?

      From a user perspective, the GUIs make it easier for people to see and interact with files on the mainframe. That's probably one of the most useful. It makes the mainframe a little bit easier to handle for new users.

      What needs improvement?

      I'm always looking for improvement in things like the documentation, to make things a little bit easier and simpler to understand, a place where people can go to troubleshoot issues.

      From an installation perspective, the simpler the installation of the product, the better. I always feel like there is room for improvement on installing. I've noticed, occasionally, installation steps could just be wrong, and that's very difficult for us. It extends the time it takes us to install the product. When we install it with the directions provided, and then it doesn't work, we have to open a ticket to find out why it doesn't work, only to find out that the documentation was missing a step. That is something that always needs to be reflected on, and has room for improvement.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      One to three years.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      We haven't really encountered stability issues. The only time we have experienced issues thus far is that new releases will occasionally have a bug or two that have to be worked out. But once everything gets in, it's usually pretty stable.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      We haven't encountered any issues with scalability.

      How is customer service and technical support?

      Tech support has been good. We usually don't have any issues time-wise. People get back to us pretty quickly. The questions that we have had have been answered, and the problems that we've had have been fixed. I don't see any issues with support. I'm not the primary support person but my colleague who is hasn't told me of any issues that she has experienced either.

      How was the initial setup?

      Setup is a little bit more complex than some products, only because Compuware changed the way it does the installation. It has an overall product manager now, and everything else is managed underneath that. So the installation is a little bit different than it used to be, and that has complicated things a little bit. But hopefully, in the long run, it will make things a little bit easier, so it won't be a separate installation for every little thing. It will be one overarching installation. Time will tell.

      What other advice do I have?

      As always, with any product, I compare 

      • the ease of use
      • how easy it is to install
      • the usefulness to the user
      • how simple is it for them to understand

      While we install the product, we don't necessarily use it. However, we have to provide support to the user who is using it. Our group supports 40 different products, so they need to be very easy to use, and I need to be able to look things up because I'm obviously not going to be an expert on 40 products. Installation manuals and documentation are crucial. That goes hand in hand with a company's support site. With 40 different products and however many different vendors, everybody has a different support site. Some are really easy to use and really great, and some are not at all easy to use. That is another piece that plays into my opinion of products.

      I would go with an eight out of 10 when rating this product. Obviously, it's not perfection, but it's very useful, relatively easy to install and maintain, and we've had a good relationship with support personnel. That all goes hand in hand to say that it's a good product, it's worth the trouble of installing and maintaining.

      Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
      PeerSpot user