What Are Mainframe Testing Tools, and Why Are They Necessary?


Large organisations have relied on mainframe systems, sometimes known as legacy systems, as their structural foundation for many years. 

These systems store enormous volumes of data and power vital corporate processes. 

Mainframe testing technologies are now necessary to guarantee the dependability and effectiveness of these systems. 

This article will discuss the importance of mainframe testing tools as well as a few essential tools that are essential for legacy system quality assurance.

Why Testing Tools for Mainframe are Necessary: 

The backbone of several sectors, including government, insurance, healthcare, and finance, is still the mainframe system. 

These systems are renowned for their dependability, security, and capacity to handle large numbers of transactions. 

However, there are special difficulties in maintaining their dependability and regular performance in a quickly changing technological environment. 

Here’s where the importance of mainframe testing tools increases. 

The following explains why they are essential:

Complexity of Mainframe Systems: 

With many interrelated components, mainframe systems are extremely complicated. 

They frequently contain legacy code that was created using antiquated programming languages like COBOL, necessitating the use of specific testing methods.

Volume and Criticality of Data: 

Mainframes handle enormous volumes of data, a large portion of which is delicate and essential to the functioning of an organisation. 

Any system error or data corruption could have dire repercussions.

Regulatory Compliance: 

Privacy and data security laws must be complied with by mainframe systems, and many businesses have stringent regulations. 

Tools for testing aid in ensuring data security and compliance.

Maintenance and Upgrades: 

Mainframe systems need to be updated and improved as they get older. 

To ensure that new features don’t interfere with already-existing functionality, testing is crucial.

Integration with Contemporary Technologies: 

Web apps and cloud services are only two examples of the more recent technologies that mainframes need to interact with. 

These integrations are validated via testing tools.

Methods for Testing Mainframes

The following are a few of the most often-used commands for mainframe testing:

  • SUBMIT: To submit the background job, use this command.
  • CANCEL: The background job can be terminated using this command.
  • ALLOCATE: A dataset is allocated using the ALLOCATE command.
  • COPY: To duplicate a dataset, use this command.
  • RENAME: The dataset can be renamed with this command.
  • DELETE: To remove the dataset, use this command.
  • JOB SCAN: This command fixes JCL issues with program files, libraries, and other files without actually implementing them.

Types of Manual Testing for Mainframes

Two sections comprise manual testing for mainframes: 

  1. Online testing: The test is administered online using the member enrollment screen. Similar to a web page, the database is validated using information entered through the displays.
  2. Batch job testing: There are two stages to this process’s testing: the first involves checking the database and delivering an input formatted file to each job, which validates the job independently. The second phase involves confirming the integration among the jobs. (Intermediate results must be confirmed due to the extra caution.)

Procedures for the Online Examination

  1. In the testing environment, choose the online screen.
  2. Verify that the data in each field is acceptable.
  3. On the screen, test the test scenario.
  4. Check the database using the online interface to see if the data has been updated.

Test Reporting: If the real outcome differs from the anticipated outcome, a defect has to be reported.

Procedures for batch testing

  1. Once the authorised package (which includes JCL, control cards, modules, procedures, etc.) has been delivered to the QA team, the tester needs to preview and retrieve what’s inside PDS as needed.
  2. Transform the development or production JCL into QA JCL, also known as JOB SETUP.
  3. creating test files and copying the production file.
  4. Every capability will have a defined job sequence. (As seen in the methodology in the mainframe section example.) The test data files and the SUB command should be used to submit the jobs.
  5. To determine the causes of missing or incorrect data, examine the intermediate file.
  6. To verify the test results, examine the database, the spool, and the final output file.
  7. The spool will contain the cause of the task failure in the event that it fails. Fix the problem and send the work again.

Test Reporting: If what actually happens differs from the anticipated outcome, a defect has to be reported.

Essential Tools for Mainframe Testing

  1. IBM Rational Functional Tester: Mainframe programs can be functionally and regression tested with the IBM Rational Functional Tester. It works with multiple scripting languages and mainframe environments.
  2. Compuware Abend-AID: Abend-AID is a debugging tool used to identify and fix mainframe application errors, or “abends.” It’s necessary to find problems quickly and rectify them.
  3. Selenium for Mainframes: This well-known web application testing tool, Selenium, can test mainframe systems via web interfaces thanks to its extensions and integrations. It is useful for web service testing on mainframes.
  4. Micro Focus Silk Performer: You may simulate and examine mainframe application performance under different loads and circumstances with this performance testing tool.
  5. DataExpress: For mainframe systems, DataExpress is a data subsetting and masking tool. It contributes to the creation of realistic test data while preserving data security and privacy.

The Need for Mainframe Testing Tools

  • Efficiency and Accuracy: The testing process is streamlined using mainframe testing technologies, which increases its efficiency and accuracy. They can do experiments at a size and speed that would be impossible to do by hand.
  • Risk Mitigation: These techniques lessen the chance of expensive system failures or breaches of information by spotting and fixing problems early in the creation or maintenance process.
  • Safety and Privacy: Testing tools for Mainframe assist in guaranteeing that mainframe systems uphold strong security, safeguard sensitive data, and conform with industry laws.
  • Quality Assurance: Testing tools are essential for quality assurance since they improve the overall dependability and efficiency of mainframe systems.
  • Integration: These solutions facilitate a seamless shift from mainframe to modern systems through the integration of new technology and modernization initiatives.

Advantages of Testing on Mainframes

Among the advantages of finishing the mainframe testing successfully are the following:

  • Optimal resource utilisation: It refers to the process of making the most possible use of the resources at hand.
  • Prevent redundant rework: It helps prevent redundant rework.
  • enhanced user experience: It enhances the user experience as a whole.
  • Shorter manufacturing period: It minimises idle time during production.
  • Retention: Retention of customers is increased, which helps us retain more customers.
  • Decreased cost of IT operations: It also helps us to cut the total cost of IT operations.


The integrity, safety, and functionality of mainframe systems depend on mainframe testing tools. 

Purchasing the appropriate testing tools is crucial to guarantee the continued performance of these legacy systems, which continue to be quite important to businesses.

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