Topaz: How Millennials Will Save the World Economy

Photo credit: Xurble

Millennials have to save the world. They are, after all, inheriting a world in crisis. Climate change, economic disparity, global political upheaval—these are all problems left to them by preceding generations to solve. One of the biggest crises facing Millennials, however, gets very little media attention. That crisis is the future of the mainframe. But make no mistake. The generational transfer of mainframe stewardship is a crisis. And it … [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...]

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?


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


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)


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...]