The Mainframe is Still the Same After 50 Years

Hodgins DM_IBM_S360_

The System 360 mainframe from IBM will be fifty years old next year. I was in grade school when it was announced in April of 1964, and my wife was just an infant. I wasn’t aware of IBM’s game-changing announcement and I didn’t care, but little did I know how important the mainframe would be to my career. I started working with mainframes after graduating from York University (Toronto) with a History degree in 1981. At the time IBM Canada did not … [Read more...]

Mainframe and Cloud – Oil and Water?

Does the Mainframe and Cloud Mix?

I came across an interesting article last week entitled “Tassie retailer rejects cloud for mainframe.” It described how an Australian supermarket chain was bucking the “cloud computing” trend by upgrading to the latest Unisys mainframe technology to run its core business, including a 20+ year-old application suite. The article highlights the common perception among a surprising number of commentators that mainframes and cloud computing are … [Read more...]

Shamed out of my Blackberry, but what about COBOL?

cobolshirt

My co-workers have been lovingly teasing me for months (or has it been a year?) about my continued use of a Blackberry. But this phone does what I need to do: make/receive phone calls and read/send emails. I tell them I don’t care; at least I didn’t until the other day. Compuware shares a beautiful downtown Detroit building with Quicken Loans. I don’t know what the average age of a Compuware employee is versus that of a Quicken employee, but I … [Read more...]

Growing Mainframe Talent Locally

technology

As we’ve blogged about many times before, the IT industry is facing a mainframe skills shortage in the not-too-distant future. And for some companies, the future is now. According to a recent survey by Computerworld, 22 percent of COBOL programmers are aged 55 and older. And, some 50 percent are between the ages of 45 and 55, setting the stage for a mass exodus of experienced programmers over the next two decades. Meanwhile mainframe applications … [Read more...]

What Makes an Effective Mainframe Programmer? (Hint – It’s Not Just Cobol Skills)

mainframeprogrammer

Computerworld recently ran an in-depth article titled “Brain Drain: Where Cobol systems go from here” This tends to be a particularly charged discussion since these days there is simultaneously a Cobol skills shortage and Cobol programmers out of work. I was happy the author extended the discussion into two other areas: institutional knowledge and systems programming. I think the retiring systems programmer has the potential to be as or more … [Read more...]

What’s Your Limit in the Mainframe Universe? – Part 2

There are many well known limits for mainframe software. In this post, we’ll start by taking a look at the z/OS system and related software, and discuss some of these limits and how they have affected the workplace throughout the years. For IBM S/360, the most common and popular limit is the 24-bit address size. Back in 1965, when the S/360 systems were being rolled out to those that could afford the multimillion dollar machines, this limit was … [Read more...]