System z (Mainframe) Census

The LinkedIn group, IBM Mainframe, has been cheerleading an effort to assemble a list of all organizations with an IBM System z. Here is what they have come up with so far.

This takes the form of a wiki, so readers can add mainframes they are aware of that have not been included. Joe Cotton at the LinkedIn IBM Mainframe group explains how it works if you want to register and add names to the list. The process is pretty straightforward; the instructions can be clicked on the left column of the wiki page. By the way, you can find me there as, what else, dancing dinosaur.

The list is far from comprehensive.  A quick glance immediately reveals a number of widely recognized mainframe shops missing from the list. The hope must be that others will participate in the wiki and add names they know should be included. In that way, the list can grow and become more comprehensive. There probably are about 3000 mainframe shops today so this list has a long way to go, but it is a good start. Appreciative thanks everyone who contributed to this effort.

In the past, IBM generally has played coy when it came to identifying customers. The company, however, has gotten better at it in recent years as it battles to counter the mainframe-is-dead FUD. Of course, the best way to do that is to show successful companies using mainframes and growing their mainframe footprints.

For example, two years ago, mainframes were being pushed out of Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND). Nobody had any complaints about the mainframes but interest simply had shifted to the distributed world, which seemed to be where the action was heading. A small dedicated mainframe group, however, thought this was a bad idea and made a compelling case for the mainframe.

This fiscal year, the DND mainframe team received funding for unprecedented mainframe growth, including virtualized Linux, model upgrades, increased redundancy and the upcoming purchase of a fourth mainframe. The DND now has a new z196 and is expecting a zBX imminently and intends, before the end of this year, to order two more z196 machines and two more zBX devices as it upgrades its existing z10 machines to run mixed z/OS, Linux, and AIX workloads. Independent Assessment recently completed the DND case study and will be posting a link to it shortly.

The initial reason to compile the wikidot list of mainframe shops, apparently, was to create a resource for mainframe people looking for jobs. Who is more likely to hire unemployed mainframers than shops that have a mainframe? Still, you can understand IBM’s reticence in revealing customers.

The real growth for the mainframe will come from new workloads. Companies will turn to the hybrid zEnterprise (z196, zBX) for the same reason as the DND—to host and manage multi-platform workloads as a single virtual consolidated system managed by the System z. Others will be looking to run IBM’s specialized software, such as the Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 10. DancingDinosaur will be taking up one company’s plans for the Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 10 on its z10 for its data warehouse soon—yet another new kind of workload for the System z.


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