Mainframers are starting to ask questions about security – and that’s a good thing

IT security crises are forever making business headlines. In 2017 it was the high profile ransomware attacks and huge data breaches such as Equifax. Barely a week into 2018 and we had the revelations surrounding the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities affecting computer chips around the world.

Traditionally, the mainframe community has been a little smug about security, generally believing our platform to be immune from many of the risks faced in distributed environments. Isn’t that one reason why the big banks and credit card companies continue to rely on mainframes to process transactions?

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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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Modern Analytics

Analytics – now – and in the future

It has been going on for decades on the mainframe
The future is about doing it better in multi-platform environments
And – in real time

Given the meteoric rise in the use of smartphones, the increasing inter-connectivity between what were previously non-connected devices (IoT), and more business-relevant data becoming available now more than ever before, you need to ask yourself – “Okay, just exactly how do I find the proverbial “needle in the haystack?”

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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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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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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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Mainframe News Out There

Mainframe news out there – November 2017

Once a month we like to pick articles from other blogs that we feel are interesting enough to talk about on the Planet Mainframe blog. Here are this week’s picks:

The Engine of Digital Disruption in the API Economy

Very interesting article by Dr. Richard Gamblin in a recent edition of the Enterprise Executive online publication: “IBM Z Systems: The Engine of Digital Disruption in the API Economy”.  A common misperception is that mainframes are somehow irrelevant in the API economy; however, the reality is that they are surprisingly well placed to service the needs of the contemporary developer. Consider that organizations exploit IBM z Systems for its proven track record in high volume transaction processing….

See more here: Enterprise Executive article.

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blockchain and the mainframe

Blockchain technology and the Mainframe

How to deal with Blockchain in a mainframe environment.

Blockchain technology – if you were to believe in some of the hype – could change the world as we know it…

Realistically however – and in the right circumstances – Blockchain oriented approaches to effectively dis-intermediating existing business processes from the likes of centralized repositories, ESCROW account providers and similar – could provide immense opportunities for firms to become more efficient and cost effective.

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Don’t Believe the Myth-information about the Mainframe: Part 1

When I heard about the HuffPost article highlighting a video debunking the myths that Hollywood has been repeating about the mainframe, I was cautiously optimistic.  Unfortunately, the writer chose to use only one reference book, and focused on the negative points.

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