Mainframing in the 2020’s

There are a countless number of articles on the subject of mainframe computing, and whether or not you should stay with it or replace it with a “more modern” technology.  As you can probably well imagine, most vendors that are mainframe-specific will recommend that you stay on the platform because it is cheaper and more reliable than any other platform out there.  This is actually true, most particularly for the large-scale revenue-generating applications that are in use by the Fortune 500 today.  In fact BMC recently released its annual mainframe survey study which indicated that mainframe use is likely to continue in this year and beyond, and even increase somewhat.  I get opportunities to talk with many CFOs and CIOs of the largest companies in the world and I believe that point.  I am actually not hearing a lot of anti-mainframe sentiment; instead I hear more of the common issues facing business today — my business is hard, competition is tough, I need to cut costs and increase market share.

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Modern Mobile Mainframe

The Modern and Mobile Mainframe

Without revealing my age, I got my first mainframe job back when terminal emulators were a new idea. They were rudimentary with only basic features like copy and paste available, but the number of licensed seats we had for those PC-based emulators was limited, so we still performed most of our work at “green screen” terminals. Often called ‘dumb terminals’, these stations had rudimentary functionality, green-tinted screens like you’d find in the movie Alien, and the tendency to beep with every keystroke, making them annoying in more ways than one to use.

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mainframe strikes back

The mainframe strikes back

With the mainframe’s star in the ascendancy yet again, we need to seize the opportunities presented while recognizing the risks, writes Mark Wilson, RSM Partners

I was just sixteen when I started working with mainframes. That was in May 1980, a month that also saw the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In the intervening years, neither big iron nor the Star Wars universe have been very far away. In fact, both the mainframe and Star Wars seem more relevant today than ever. While I can’t help thinking we’ve gone through an Attack of the Clones, as nothing has emerged over the years to properly replace the mainframe – yes, it really is that good – we now risk finding ourselves sitting through The Last Jedi. By that, I mean as an industry we need to tackle the dwindling band of mainframe experts at our disposal. They’re not quite living on a secluded Jedi island, surrounded by Porgs until absorbed into the Force  – but we are running out of people fast. Just like the Star Wars movies, however, I’m one hundred percent sure the story of the mainframe will go on and on and on… and what’s interesting is how we’re going to get there. But first, a quick recap on where we are now.

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Easy access to IBM Z information with IBM Doc Buddy

IBM Doc Buddy enables you to search error messages of IBM Z software products in both the online or offline environment on your mobile device – it can be a perfect replacement for LookAt, a z/OS message tool for which support is no longer available. Doc Buddy is available in both Apple App Store and Google Play.

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blockchain and the mainframe

LinuxONE Emperor II–the Linux Mainframe

The latest in the LinuxOne lineup is the LinuxONE Emperor II, introduced this past summer. It is built on the z14 and it runs a dedicated, optimized version of open Linux. It can do everything you can do with a native (x86) Linux system and more. You can run Docker containers to your heart’s content. Spin up dozens, hundreds, even thousands of Hadoop instances if you want massively scaled out Hadoop analysis. You can run it with Spark for cognitive analytics.

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If it isn’t broken…

(Legacy systems – their role – their future.)

I used to run a company which specialized in providing so-called Direct Market Access (DMA) to suitably authorized Buy-Side firms – as well as to many firms on the Sell-Side.  Many of these firms (particularly the High Frequency Trading variety) would each generate transactions at a rate of some 30,000 messages per second.

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Smartphone Apps

8 Mainframe Mobile Apps that every mainframe professional should know

Yes, we have smartphone apps related to the mainframe.  Don’t be surprised.  Mainframes are not the old dusty computers that some folks go on about – you know; the ages-old dinosaurs that occupy entire rooms, use card punch input, and require bits and bytes programming.  Mainframe technology has come a long way in terms of modernization.  They are now the size of your typical refrigerator, super-fast , running top industries critical data  day in and day out.

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GDPR and what it means to you

(What will be the impact in the mainframe datacenter?)

GDPR changes the rules

The EU will be introducing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May of this year – it is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.  GDPR replaces the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe. It is meant to protect the privacy of all EU citizens, and to reshape the way organizations across the EU manage the data of private citizens. The new regulations improve on the inconsistent data protection laws currently existing in the EU and ensure the secure, free-flow of data.

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Getting the basics right

Mainframes are expensive – no-one disagrees with that. But what they can do is run industrial strength workloads for less than it would cost on other platforms with much less likelihood of any kind of system malfunction. Having said that, it makes sense to understand mainframe performance and ways that those costs could be reduced.

Let’s start by looking at performance and performance management. Here are some of the metrics used by performance-monitoring tools (also see Does Your Mainframe Need an Oil Change):

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Don’t Believe the Myth-information about the Mainframe: Part 3

In this series, Janet Sun explores and dispels numerous myths around the mainframe. Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

What Do You Lose by Moving Off the Mainframe?


Typically, distributed servers support a single application workload.  How many business applications does a typical company run?  Inventory control, order entry, accounts payable, accounts receivable, HR, shipping, business intelligence, research and development (multiple projects).  How many servers would be necessary to support these applications?

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