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Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes

 
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Virendra Shambharkar

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Joined: 26 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:40 am    Post subject: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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Hi,

I want to know if there are any unsupported technologies in Mainframes like programming languages , OS , Databases , servers etc. Is there any end date for the legacy technologies that are being used. Most of the legacy technologies seem to be supported at the moment.

Any help on this will be great.

Thanks,
Virendra.
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enrico-sorichetti

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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it is easy to check on the IBM web sites the software and the infrastructures supported,
for each software and hardware product IBM is very clear about end of life and end of support.
naturally nothing prevent the use of a software after the end of support.

but if You want to know if the FUBAR technology is supported You will have to find out Yourself
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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I think you need to clarify your question. Since the "System 360" has been around since 1964, you should not be surprised that tens, perhaps hundreds, out thousands of pieces of hardware and software are no longer supported.

There are many entire operating systems which no longer exist.

There is a new release of z/OS due for General Availability late next month. That will have new stuff, and the old stuff will still work. Backwards compatibility is a strong suit.

Remember, "Legacy" is an invented concept, from some "management guru" or other. The ability of so many to lock-step behind such an empty word or phrase shows why salesmen are good at selling and sheepdogs are good at herding.
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Virendra Shambharkar

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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Thanks a lot. But IBM site may not have list of technologies that are not supported I will check once though.
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Virendra Shambharkar

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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Thanks Bill,

As you rightly pointed out there could be some mainframe hardware , software that are no longer supported.

I am trying to look out if I can find out all such technologies which are no longer supported . Also if there are some technologies which are being supported now but the support is going to end in the near future. Any pointers to this will help.

Thanks again for your inputs .

Thanks,
Virendra.
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Bill Woodger

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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As enrico has pointed out, the IBM website will have what you want for "supported now, won't be supported from <this date>". The individual documents hang around for a number of years, but I doubt that once they got a website they went back and loaded all the historical stuff.

So, your first task is easy, it is all there. The reason being it is necessary information.

Your second tsk, since it's not really needed (who wants to know when a particular 1403 model went out of service?) your only realistic chance is to contact IBM themselves. You'd need to explain why you want to know, and, reasonably, put some reasonable limit on it. I doubt any friendly librarian is going to arrange hundreds of thousands of documents for you.
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Virendra Shambharkar

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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Thanks Enrico & Bill .
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steve-myers

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:51 pm    Post subject:
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This is a very hard topic to directly discuss.

Magnetic tape is a prime example. In 1965, reel to reel 7 track tape ruled. It was the primary data store. By 1975 it was dead and effectively buried. Yes, you could still obtain tape drives that could read a 7 track tape, but there were fewer and fewer 7 track tapes around, and most of them were effectively unreadable.

Now, assuming you could find a 7 track magnetic tape, you would be hard pressed to find a tape drive than could read it.

Now, why did this happen?
  • 8-bit character sets. The 6-bit BCD or non-IBM character sets were replaced by 8-bit character sets like EBCDIC. In the non-IBM world, even ASCII – originally intended to be a 7-bit character set – was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 8-bit world.
  • Technology improvements. The original System/360 tape drives were 9-track drives to properly support the 8-bit character set. Other than fitting the extra tracks into the tape media, the recording technologies were essentially unchanged. Over time, as bit density slowly increased, none of these improvements were applied to 7 track tape.
There has been mention of the IBM 1403 line printer here. The 1403 itself survived into the 1990s, though not by that name. 30 years! No one will question it remains an important device in the history of computing. I am convinced the 1403, as a high quality impact printer, had more to do with IBM's dominance through the 1960s than any other factor. The simple fact is there was no other impact printing technology that offered the 1403's performance and print quality. The technology was locked down by patents. I have no direct knowledge whether there was any serious attempt to develop 1403 “clones” in this period. Certainly none appeared! It survived, with seeming ease, the transition from 6-bit character sets to 8-bit character sets. But the 1403 is a product, not a technology.

IBM and others still produce high performance impact printers, but it seems to me to be a dying technology. What replaced it is laser printers. As far as I know, ink jet printing technology never made it to large volume printing, though it remains dominant in personal computing.

Speaking of dead technologies, never forget the lowly punched card!
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don.leahy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:04 pm    Post subject:
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As for software, products have come and gone and ancient versions of software have gone out of service, but the only obsolete technology that I can think of is ISAM (Indexed Sequential Access Method) data set organization.
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steve-myers

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:20 pm    Post subject:
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Mr. Leahy talks about ISAM.

He is absolutely correct in one sense. It would be difficult to find an ISAM data set any more. Thanks be to Allah!

However, the concept it still with us in the form of VSAM.

I will not pretend to be an ISAM or VSAM expert. It seems to me – and I could well be wrong – that anything you could do with ISAM can be done with a VSAM KSDS.
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don.leahy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject:
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I had a few years of using ISAM early in my career, and the decision to convert the files to VSAM was considered a no-brainer, even before IBM pulled the plug (which was many years later). The ISAM fans insisted that a well-organized ISAM file performed better than its VSAM equivalent, but even they had to admit that an ISAM data set didn't stay organized for very long. Nightly reorgs of ISAM data sets were common.
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steve-myers

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:43 am    Post subject:
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Agree with everything you said. I've always thought a freshly loaded ISAM data set accessed sequentially would be faster than VSAM, but I never tried to measure this. Another unanswered question is whether a QISAM load would be faster than the equivalent load of a VSAM data set. Perhaps some of the experts here can shed some insight.

The problem with ISAM is it was so easy to screw up. One of the very few ISAM stories I can relate is an ISAM based system that loaded - from scratch - a data set using their update BISAM utility. It took hours. A smart, but all too often careless, analyst had the bright idea they should sort the input before feeding it to their program. Hours turned to minutes!
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Rohit Umarjikar

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:15 am    Post subject:
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Punch cards are no more... icon_smile.gif
But why would you like to go back in time then getting to know whats more ?
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Virendra Shambharkar

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply to: Unsupported Technologies in Mainframes
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Thanks Everybody . Here I got a list of technologies for which IBM has withdrawn support .

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycleapp/PLCDetail.wss?synkey=B984385H82239E03&from=spf
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steve-myers

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 am    Post subject:
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Mr. Shambharkar's link discusses various iterations of a Cobol compiler product, which is different than a technology.

Cobol as a concept, is a technology. Along the way, there are dozens, I'm sure, of Cobol compiler products that are dead.
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