Story 2014-06-24 3PF Mainframe technology is here to stay. Just add innovation.

Mainframe technology is here to stay. Just add innovation.

in hardware on (#3PF)
Where mainframe computers are concerned, the Technology Spectator says it better than I could:
In a world where IT continues to power forward, the longevity of the mainframe and its place in today’s computing environment is increasingly being questioned. With ‘change’ often confused with ‘progress’, a mainframe’s durability can work against it. As demand grows for more agile and innovative systems, it is difficult to reconcile a technology in its sixth decade with the technology we carry around in our pockets or use at home. But while dissenters continue to challenge the validity of the mainframe, the technology keeps on proving its worth.
Few consumers know or understand that "ancient" mainframe technology is working behind the scenes in the banking, travel, and insurance sectors, and that's unlikely to change. What is changing though is the insertion of start-up mentality and innovation into the mainframe ecosystem, like Splunk, a search specialist, teaming up with Syncsort to unlock some of the data being produced by mainframe systems. What does not change though, is the fact that mainframe systems require specialized skill sets, and those experts are getting hard to find. Not a good thing in an environment of ever-more-stringent compliance and regulatory requirements.
Reply 5 comments

Mainframe != server (Score: 1)

by on 2014-06-24 13:05 (#28S)

Do these people not know what a server is? Mainframes serve terminals, not web pages (though occasional these terminals run web-like interfaces a la intranet). The article seems to argue for main frames by saying that they are presently in use and therefor should be used... Yes, they are in use, but with personal computer prices so low now, why do we need terminals? Why not just use a server, which, so far as I can tell from the description of uses for mainframes in the articles, would serve the same purpose. IBMs is still trying to push their mainframes in the name of RAS but frankly given the state of IT, is that really an issue?

I see owning a mainframe as a Catch 22 to not stop owning a mainframe. Once you're in (especially if you've been in long enough that you would have at one point needed to have bought a mainframe), the price of switching your business to modern architecture goes up up and away.

But hell, I could be off base on all of this is the price is right. I don't have to time to look up numbers right now, so if someone wants to slam me into the ground with prices, that'd be cool.

Re: Mainframe != server (Score: 1)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-24 13:26 (#28V)

CICS can serve web pages. Many mainframes with web front ends have COBOL programs at the back end served via CICS. Didn't take the time to google?

Mainframes can run java. No googling first? Try for a start.

It is like everything else in Life and IT. Everything has a place and purpose. If your need is to process millions of transactions per day the mainframe option starts looking very good. Need a web server and an app built in a hurry then Intel server bubbles to the top of the list.

Your reference to 'terminals' is quaint. You will find that few programmers have a 'terminal'. Mainframe is accessed via a 3270 emulator which is generally a program running on a PC, or more likely an app in a web browser.
Programming? These days an IDE running on the user's PC can interface with the mainframe, pull the code up locally, compile locally, and push the code to the mainframe for compile and promote. Code promotion? Package and promote code from your IDE.

The mainframe has a TCP/IP stack. What can't be built? If you have one, then you may as well use it as much as you can.

Re: Mainframe != server (Score: 1)

by on 2014-06-26 23:47 (#29J)

CICS can serve web pages. Many mainframes with web front ends have COBOL programs at the back end served via CICS.
You can also expose any of your CICS transactions as web services very easily.What is old becomes new again.

Mainframes are amazing pieces of computing machinery these days. Nothing like seeing someone hot-swap a processor while the daily workload continues to process away.

Re: Mainframe != server (Score: 1)

by on 2014-06-25 02:25 (#294)

The price/performance of mainframes is not very competitive unless RAS is a non-negotiable requirement, rather than as a tacked-on or 3.0 feature as it is for MS and Linux-based vendors. The rest of the computing industry is still catching up to the RAS stuff that IBM (and presumably its erstwhile mainframe competitors) had in place decades ago, not so much because it is rocket science, but because they're always too busy chasing the new new thing.

Re: Mainframe != server (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-26 13:21 (#29C)

I thought mainframes hosted databases with high reliability. And that at least one of the distinguishing characteristics was their redundancy and failover abilities.