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My Goodness!! Won’t that Mainframe Thing Just Go Away!!

It’s been almost 30 years since its demise was predicted and the words “the mainframe is dead” echoed throughout datacenters around the world. About the same time people were scrambling to remove words like “MVS” and “mainframe” from their resumes. Outside of their datacenters and the semi-annual SHARE conference, it was seldom discussed. The “gray-hairs” ultimately retired and the skill set declined, so it would have to die. Right? Well, not quite. This is not a beast to be starved.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”, the mainframe is not about to die. The gray-haired crowd (or no-haired crowd) has been replaced by tattoos, dreadlocks, and body piercings. Attend a SHARE conference and you’ll see what I mean. But aside from the visual change, there is certainly a mindset saying “the mainframe ain’t going anywhere anytime soon”.

What prompted this blog was an annual survey by BMC software that shows that the mainframe is, in fact, back, assuming it actually went somewhere. Or as Schwarzenegger (again) put it: “I’ll be back”.

This survey has received a fair amount of coverage. Rob Enderle of IT Business Edge gave a great review of the survey (in a level of detail I won’t repeat here, thank you, Rob).

So where does that leave us? The mainframe never did die. It merely receded into the murky background while we all jumped into the more challenging topics relating to Open Systems. And we’re still jumping into these challenges today. And we’ll still be jumping next year. In the meantime, HDS and Hitachi have never forgotten this platform with its blazing performance, top notch security, scalability, ultra reliability, and what many are now concluding is a price competitive OS.

And what exactly has HDS done? For starters, we remain fully IBM compatible. We’ve taken it a step further by adding HDP (Dynamic Provisioning) for the performance boost it gives to critical applications such as DB2, IMS, and CICS VSAM. Since IBM is pushing big data analytics on the mainframe, this is key. You need the IOPS that only HDP can provide. The HDP architecture is unique to HDS.

Additionally, we now have HDT (Dynamic Tiering) on the mainframe. On Open Systems we’ve calculated that over 80% of the data we find on Tier 1 disk doesn’t need to be there, and I believe that statistic applies to the mainframe as well. Less expensive media, much better environmentals, and less floor space. Let the storage system move 80% of your data to tier 2 disk. And to make matters even better, we’ve integrated HDT with SMS at the Storage Group level.

So although the mainframe has been hidden from public view for 3 decades, rest assured that we have never given up on it.

I just thought I’d bring that up.

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John Varendorff on 19 Nov 2013 at 2:03 am

As one of the “Not Quite So Gray Haired” Mainframers, I obviously agree that the Mainframe Platform is Alive and Very Well.

But, as you know, another Critical On-going Action that we at HDS take is to maintain a Very Skilled, Hugely Experienced and Committed Group of Mainframe Services Practitioners to implement and optimize our HDS Mainframe Storage Solutions.

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