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Future of Mainframes...

 
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mlp

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Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Future of Mainframes...
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Recently I came across one article named as "future of mainframes" by Research firm OVUM.

The article paints kind of grim picture of the mainframe sellability in the future. It says that surely number of MIPS are on the rise, but the number of mainframes are shrinking. In other words bigger mainframes are getting bigger and bigger and smaller mainframes are being replaced with non-mainframes alternatives.

Now I do not have the role or the expertise to see the bigger picture. Considering the fact that IBM is investing so much in new releases of software and hardware, I see that there is still some fuel left in the car... icon_question.gif

Alo, I think this is an important topic especially for mainframe developers as it is matter of their job security... icon_sad.gif

Please post your comments and thoughts...
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Anuj Dhawan

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Joined: 22 Apr 2006
Posts: 6258
Location: Mumbai, India

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject:
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http://www.ibmmainframes.com/viewtopic.php?t=49677&highlight=future
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dick scherrer

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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 19270
Location: Inside the Matrix

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:27 pm    Post subject:
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Hello,

Suggest developers pay attention to whether their skills remain marketable rather than whether there are "more" or "fewer" mainframe boxes. . . If a "new box" is installed that replaces 4 existing boxes but has the capacity of 6 of the current boxes, there was really no loss of opportunity. . . There would be a considerable savings in computer room space needed, power requirements, climate control, etc.

Back in the Y2K scurry, many places jumped on the "Enterprise Server" - which was a mainframe with a more current sounding name.

As long as there is the demand for "mainframe COBOL", JCL, CICS, etc., there will be work. Last i heard, the number of lines of Production COBOL code is still increasing. . .
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Akatsukami

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Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1755
Location: Bloomington, IL

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:09 pm    Post subject:
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I recall that in 1985 industry pundits confidently predicted the death of COBOL by the end of the century, as the rise of 4GLs meant that anyone could write a query.

Of course, the controlling factor turned out to be not whether anyone could write a query, but if anyone wanted to. No language was "English-like" enough save English itself, and the only query that 99% of the population would compose in it was, "Hey, four-eyes, where's the quarterly sales report?"
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don.leahy

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Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 650
Location: Whitby, ON, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject:
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Be careful of the advice you listen to.

Here is a (old) list of some dubious career advice that I've been given over the years. The degree of dubiousness varies.

1981 : "Stay away from COBOL...it's a dead language."

1982: "Structured analysis, structured design, structured code...everything else is crap"

1983: "There won't be any more batch processing within 5 years, everything will be online"

1984: "Find another line of work. 4GLs will make programmers obsolete."

1985: "What, you're still using VSAM? Get a database!"

1986: "Hierarchical data bases are obsolete. If you're not relational, you're not in the game!"

1987: "*Still* using COBOL? You dumb #$@!"

1988: "CASE tools will solve the application backlog"

1989: "Code reuse will solve the application backlog"

1990: "Forget CASE tools. Desktop development is much faster!"

1991: "The mainframe is dead. Go client server"

1992: "Find another line of work. Overseas outsourcing will put you out of a job"

1993: "OO analysis, design and development will solve the application backlog"

1994: "What? You're still using IMS??"

1995: "Forget Cobol. Learn C".

1996: "Forget C. Learn C++".

1997: "Y2K will be the end of the world as we know it"

1998: "Okay, maybe COBOL isn't dead....but it will be after Y2K is finished"

1999: "All future application development will be in JAVA"

2000: "The mainframe is the best platform for e-business"

2001-present: I stopped listening to advice. :-)
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superk

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Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 4648
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Future of Mainframes...
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I'm sitting here thinking about how really sad a lot of this is. I remember wanting to be involved with computers way back in High School, and then when the opportunities came my way, I always jumped at the chance to do something else or to do something different. I used to enjoy what I did: writing code, doing some diagnostic research, improving a process, etc. Now, it really does seem that a career in IT is pretty much dead. I could never look someone in the eye now and tell them that this would be a good career path for them. I'd say to look elsewhere.

Where I was last employed, most of the sharper guys in IT were honing their own businesses so that there'd be something for them to fall back on when the inevitable layoff came. I applaud their foresight in providing for their own futures. Without that, and with only an IT career background, there's very little in the way of other avenues that one can take. It would be great if the unemployment process would provide avenues for career transitions and training, but it doesn't except for a few industries.

All those years spent supporting systems, working entire weekends, missing a lot of family time and just enjoying life because of never-ending on-call support, constantly cancelling vacations or time-off due to major problems, for what? Those companies ceased to exist a long time ago. All that effort is long-forgotten. And what's there to show for it? Yep, nothing. Maybe a decent pension and 401K. Maybe not.
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valyk

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Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Posts: 104
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject:
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superk's response got me thinking. What has caused the 'dead' feeling in IT? Is it the feeling of being unchallenged, poor management, or the miles of red tape? I think the later two have contributed to the first. I work in a very large shop that employees roughly 600 people in the mainframe IT department (everything from managers, project leads, team leads, business analyst, to the programmers) and it seems the bureaucracy has become overwhelming.

I was lucky enough to escape the application programming and move to the systems side where the red tape and bureaucracy are minimal. But, the morale in the application side is extremely low and everyone appears miserable. I think the red tape has caused extremely bright individuals to become bitter and unwilling to work at their highest caliber.

I've talked to other people from different shops at IBM trainings and it seems to be very common. Most of the good functional code is written in the systems area, and the application areas struggle to make a simple one line change sheet.

My company has become extremely inefficient and the upper management is totally blind to what we have become. I am amazed that we continue to bring in new business and actually make a profit.
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don.leahy

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Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 650
Location: Whitby, ON, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject:
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I think we can attribute much of it to the quest for "organizational maturity". The desire to achieve consistenty repeatable results using a consistent repeatable process can lead to "methodolatry", where process becomes far more important than results. Hence the many "gates" and other hurdles that are put in the way of project teams, and the many "artifacts" that have to be produced. Some have recommended that a project manager should plan for about 25% overhead due to these activities.
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