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...
Alo, I think this is an important topic especially for mainframe developers as it is matter of their job security...
Joined: 23 Nov 2006 Posts: 19270 Location: Inside the Matrix
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. . .
Joined: 03 Oct 2009 Posts: 1783 Location: Bloomington, IL
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?"
Joined: 26 Apr 2004 Posts: 4650 Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
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.
Joined: 16 Apr 2008 Posts: 104 Location: South Carolina
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.
Joined: 06 Jul 2010 Posts: 659 Location: Whitby, ON, Canada
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.