Mainframes are used increasingly by major banks and financial institutions

Do you think the mainframe is dead? A dinosaur, an ancient piece of technology that has outlived its usefulness like cathode ray tubes, rotary dial telephones, and dial-up modems?

I have some news for you. The mainframe has adapted: it is alive and well with major banks and financial institutions continually growing their use of mainframes. In fact, mainframes are at the core of their technology strategies. The reason why? Mainframes deliver functionality and reliability unmatched by any other platform.

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Data Centers, Mainframes and the rest

Data Centers, Mainframes and the rest!

When compared to an x86/distributed server environment, the operational costs of the power consumption versus IBM’s Mainframe z Systems are half, while the performance is 30 percent greater (using z Systems as an example.)

So let’s think about that for a minute!

X86/Distributed server power consumption is double that of an IBM Mainframe?

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DevOps

Bringing DevOps to your mainframe

The days of waterfall software development on a mainframe are coming to an end. It’s no longer tolerable for end users to have to wait two years for a new application to be written and delivered to a spec that, by then, is two years out of date. The inflexibility of the waterfall methodologies make them uncompetitive in the modern mainframe environment. What’s needed are the faster, more flexible, processes associated with Agile and DevOps ways of working. But what does an organization need to do in order to move from their old way of working to this new way – a way that can bring regular and frequent updates to any application to suit the needs of the users?

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3rd platform and the mainframe

The Third Platform and the Mainframe

The Third Platform is defined as the interdependencies between mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, and information/analytics (big data), and possibly the Internet of Things (IoT). Here is a nice rendering of the Third Platform model from Forbes.com. It shows our new concerns: Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC-IT) at the top level on the “Third Platform,” our LAN/Internet and our Client/Server apps on the “Second Platform,” and the clunky old Mainframe on the “First Platform.” When talking about the First Platform, people say that we know how these systems worked and how they were used, as if it’s all in the distant past. And that’s a mistake.

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user experience

Is user experience one of the mainframe’s biggest challenges?

IBM has done a great job of continually re-inventing the mainframe over the years to help it stay abreast of the evolving technology landscape. The z13 mainframe, for example, is the product of over $1m in R&D spend, including a host of enhancements to elevate its support for mobile, Big Data, and real-time analytics workloads. And, despite rumours to the contrary, the platform has also done an excellent job of embracing modern computing languages such as Java, and open systems technologies such as Linux.

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Open Mainframe

The Open Mainframe Project – A Critical Industry Evolution

The Open Mainframe Project was established to create an open source, technical community that industry and community participants may easily participate in and so that they may contribute to the creation of assets and materials that will benefit the ecosystem around Linux and open source software on the mainframe.

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7 Ways to Control the Mighty Majestic Mainframe

Today’s mainframe systems run the world’s top industries’ mission-critical workloads. This includes large financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, utilities, government, military, and a multitude of other public and private enterprises.

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subject matter expert

The Value of Technical Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Like many of my fellow Planet Mainframe readers, I belong to several LinkedIn professional groups.  Recently, there was a vibrant discussion thread going on in one such group that discussed subject matter experts and their value.  It gave me an idea for a blog post.

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In-memory technology: It’s new, and it’s not…

We read a lot about in-memory technology these days, especially as it applies to Big Data and analytics. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing areas in all of computing, and has been since before Gartner identified it as such back in 2012. That should be no surprise to anyone since these new technologies promise to allow businesses to obtain actionable insight into their own data. This type of insight will play a big role in how much success these businesses will experience in the future, and in-memory technology will play an important role. It may interest you to know, however, that in-memory technology has been around for a long time, runs on all platforms, and that Big Data and analytics may not even be where in-memory technology makes its biggest impact on businesses.

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ignore reality

Ignoring reality

While it may be difficult to credit the sincerity of someone who self-critiques by saying, “I care too much,” there are times when I apply the sentiment to myself. In my 37 years in the IT industry, I have been employed by mainframe software vendors for about half the time, and have been a customer of mainframe software vendors for the other half. I’ve seen things from each perspective, and even when I’m on the vendor side of the table, I can usually sympathize with the customer’s situation.

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