By today’s computing standards, the Mainframe is considered archaic, yet surprisingly it is very much alive and thriving! It’s easy to think of mainframes as technology dinosaurs, but the fact is these machines remain a key component of many organizations’ computing strategies.
Mainframes Illustrious Past
Mainframes have come a long way since their introduction in 1952. IBM unveiled the System/360 mainframe, a groundbreaking computer that allowed new levels of compatibility between systems. The System/360 allowed machines across a product line to work with each other. Business data-processing operations could grow from the smallest machine to the largest. Before the System/360, businesses bought a computer, wrote programs for it, and then when it got too old or slow, they threw it away and started from scratch. Let’s not forget that it was the System/360 that played a critical role in helping NASA send astronauts to the Moon.
Mainframes Stable Present
IBM’s latest mainframe model is the Z13. This model is versatile, able to take on the growing mobile app landscape as well as online 24/7 banking. For this reason, the mainframe remains the first choice for the government, airline, banking, healthcare and insurance industries. Mainframes are unique because their advanced I/O clustering technologies allow them to retain performance levels while upgrading computing functions, memory, and storage. This means no crashes and no downtime. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the ability to have the latest System Z be compatible with the original System/360.
Mainframes Promising Future
Mainframes won’t be going away anytime soon. Their ability to process billions of transactions accurately and in real-time while storing more data, is yet to be rivaled. In fact, more than 70% of Fortune 500 enterprises continue to use mainframes for their most crucial business functions. With advancing technology, mainframes are now running at the speed and scale of mobile technology. The mainframe is also able to ensure the highest level of security and trust in the cloud. Rest assured, the mainframe technology will continue to advance in the future.
It is no secret that experienced mainframe workers are aging, with many looking towards retirement. It might be a perfect time to explore a career shift or new career in mainframe programming or operations support. If you have baseline skills such as Cobol, Java or SQL for example, you could make an easy jump into the mainframe field. There is a growing number of online tools and resources available to help new entrants learn the ropes. Consider, Udemy, Mainframes.com, Interskill or Learnquest.