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...]

Not Rolling Stone — But Still Worth a Read!

EE cover cropped

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

COM and logo

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...]

Do You Put Cheap Oil in Your Corvette?


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?


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


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...]

Three quick steps to prepare for the mainframe retiring work force


The retiring mainframe work force issue has proven to be a slow erosion over time rather than some type of drastic drop off. No matter where your company sits in that continuum, here are three simple steps you can take to help reduce the impact moving forward: 1. Get Current “When is the best time to buy a Kirby vacuum cleaner? When the Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman is here!” That was the last ditch effort sales line of a door-to-door salesman … [Read more...]

Mainframers: Older and Wiser


“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ― Jimi Hendrix I recently spent two days with our mainframe sales, consultants and technical field staff – those who are in contact with our customers every day – for our annual fiscal year kick off. I looked around the room and thought, “Another year older, but another year wiser.” We all have our own notion of what it means to be wise in our personal lives. In “The Science of Older and Wiser,” … [Read more...]