Tips for a Smooth COBOL 5.1 Migration

Photo credit: Dan Davison

Some mainframe sites have already initiated projects to migrate to IBM COBOL 5.1 in hopes of reaping the millions of dollars in CPU savings that come along with the compiler, the first to truly exploit the System z architecture. Other sites are deep into research projects to scope both the effort and the benefits of this migration. For the practitioners charged with these migration tasks, this is one of those classic first-do-no-harm … [Read more...]

Five Big Mistakes You Can Make with Big Data

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There's a lot of talk and hype about Big Data and with that comes confusion and mistakes. Here are five big mistakes you can make when starting a Big Data initiative. Ignore the source of your data. Don't pay attention to the origins of your data; it will just slow you down. You might find that the data was obtained with the understanding that it would only be used for specific purposes, outside of what you are doing. Don't relate your … [Read more...]

Not Rolling Stone — But Still Worth a Read!

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This month’s Enterprise Executive cover story features yours truly.  This doesn’t quite fulfill my childhood ambition to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.  But I’m still very glad that this media opportunity came my way. Here’s why. The “Mainframe’s Next 50 Years” Vision EE’s editor-in-chief Denny Yost got it right when he made the “Mainframe Next 50 Years” vision the centerpiece of our interview.  This is the core message I’ve been … [Read more...]

What’s Keeping You from COBOL 5.1?

Credit: Peter Smithson

With the release of COBOL 5.1, IBM has finally delivered a compiler that fully exploits the advantages of System z architecture.  As a result, IT organizations recompiling their code in COBOL 5.1 can run their existing mainframe applications with 10-20% less CPU utilization.  That can save companies millions. These aren’t just short-term savings.  Most companies currently using mainframes will keep relying on them for another decade.  So the … [Read more...]

Meet Your Mainframe Staff, 2020

credit: reynermedia

Every site that depends on a mainframe is at a slightly different stage in dealing with the retiring work force. All of these sites would agree that the layout of their mainframe staff in the future may bear little resemblance to the way it looks today. Meet your mainframe staff, 2020: Your systems programmer came in with a liberal arts degree but impressed everyone with her natural curiosity and intelligence during the interview process. … [Read more...]

Yes, Your Mainframe’s Future Is That Important to Us

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On September 2, we announced our acquisition by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo. We also now announced that we plan to operationally separate our mainframe and APM businesses—and that the resulting mainframe-dedicated company will carry the Compuware name. As the new president of Compuware’s mainframe business, I wanted to share my thoughts about how these two moves will impact our customers. What Your Mainframe Means to Us Many view … [Read more...]

Applications: What To Keep, What To Replace?

Credit: Joe + Jeanette Archie

I was affected by the flooding that hit the Detroit area recently.  While cleaning out my basement I was struck by the amount of things I had—for no good reason. Let me explain. Many things I had, I had because they were given to me, or someone wanted me to have it, or it was free.  But I didn't seek them out. I didn't identify a need and then fill it.  I just had them.  Sure, some things I found I could use, but others... not so much. This made … [Read more...]

Do You Put Cheap Oil in Your Corvette?

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Sometimes shaving costs makes sense.  Other times, it can be extremely short-sighted. If you own a classic Corvette, for example, you shouldn’t feed it cheap oil.  That’s because the pennies you save in the short term are outweighed by the potential damage you’ll do to your vehicle in the long term. The same is true of the mainframe.  Yes, it’s important to control mainframe-related costs.  But the worst way to do that is to simply … [Read more...]

Should I Be Committed?

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While most people have congratulated me on my new position as leader of Compuware’s mainframe business, some folks think I should be committed.  To them, the mainframe is moribund—so they think I’m crazy for taking this job. Well, I agree.  I should be committed.  And I am.  I am committed to the mainframe and to Compuware’s leadership of the mainframe market. But it’s not because I’m crazy.  It’s because the mainframe has been around for … [Read more...]

Going Au Naturel: Comments as a Complexity Metric

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I’ve written a lot about metrics as a means to gauge the complexity of a program including SLOC and the Halstead and McCabe metrics. An often over looked metric – and one I haven’t touched on before – is one that’s in plain sight: comments Comments are added to programs presumably to explain things that aren't clear. And sometimes they’re enough just to get the gist of how complex it might be. While you could start with a simple count of the … [Read more...]