BMC 15th Annual Mainframe Survey

This month BMC came out with the results of its 15th annual mainframe survey. Survey respondents laid out some ambitious goals starting with plans to increase adoption of DevOps on the mainframe. Specifically they want greater stability, security, and scalability. 

Respondents also reported a desire to speed up AI adoption as they seek smarter operational data. Forty-six percent of respondents made data recovery a priority. Driving the increased interest was the desire to better predict data recovery times. Even more, 64%, wanted to reduce planned outages, effectively ensuring that high availability continues as a priority.

Similarly respondents expressed increased interest in SIEM. Security-related concerns ranked significantly higher than in last year’s survey, as did vulnerability scanning. It was not too long ago that mainframe shops were quite complacent about mainframe security. No longer.

Overall the mainframe comes out very well, especially compared to years when respondents were reporting plans to deactivate the mainframe. For example, 90% of respondents reported positive sentiments toward the mainframe by management.

Similarly, 68% forecast MIPS growth of 6 percent. Among the largest mainframe shops 67% report more than half of their data resides on the mainframe. 

Mainframe staffing has been an ongoing concern for years. Remember the experienced mainframe veterans hitting retirement and are impossible to replace. IBM and the Open Mainframe Project have been working on this and finally appear to be making headway.

To start, IBM has been expanding the capabilities of the mainframe itself. Over 20 years ago, IBM introduced Linux on the mainframe. That provided, at some level, an alternative to zOS. It was clunky and inelegant at first but over the last two decades it has been refined. Today there are powerful LinuxONE mainframes that can handle the largest transaction workloads. IBM has made it easier to use Linux as a Linux machine with the power of the z15. Throw in Java on the mainframe and you have a very flexible mainframe that doesn’t look and feel like a traditional mainframe.

More recently, the Open Mainframe Project introduced Zowe. a new open-source framework. Zowe brings together systems that were not designed to handle global networks of sensors and devices. Now, decades since IBM brought Linux to the mainframe, IBM CA, and Rocket Software introduced Zowe, a new open-source software framework that bridges the divide between modern challenges like IoT, cloud development, and the mainframe. 

The point of all this is to enable any developer to manage, control, script, and develop on the mainframe as he or she would on any cloud platform. Additionally, Zowe allows teams to use the same familiar, industry-standard, open-source tools they already know and use them to access, call, and integrate mainframe resources and services. So you can stop pining for those retired mainframe veterans. They’re drinking Scotch on the beach.

Ironically the mainframe is probably older than the programmers Zowe will attract. Zowe opens new possibilities for next generation applications from next generation programmers and developers for mainframe shops desperately needing new, mission-critical applications for which customers are clamoring. This should radically reduce the learning curve for the next generation, while making experienced professionals more efficient. BTW, Zowe’s code is made available under the open-source Eclipse Public License 2.0.

Whether it is Zowe or just the opening of the mainframe things are changing in the right direction. The people with 1-10 years experience on the mainframe have increase from 47% to 63% while those with more than 20 years of mainframe experience represent 18%. Most encouraging is the growth of women, who now constitute 40% (from 30% a year before) while men have declined from 70% to 60%. 

Respondents also reported a desire to speed up AI adoption as they seek smarter operational data. Forty-six percent of respondents made data recovery a priority. Driving the increased interest was the desire to better predict data recovery times. Even more, 64%, wanted to reduce planned outages, effectively ensuring that high availability continues as a priority.

Similarly respondents expressed increased interest in SIEM. Security-related concerns ranked significantly higher than in last year’s survey, as did vulnerability scanning. It was not too long ago that mainframe shops were quite complacent about mainframe security. No longer.

Overall the mainframe comes out very well, especially compared to years when respondents were reporting plans to deactivate the mainframe. For example, 90% of respondents reported positive sentiments toward the mainframe by management.

Similarly, 68% forecast MIPS growth of 6 percent. Among the largest mainframe shops 67% report more than half of their data resides on the mainframe. 

Mainframe staffing has been an ongoing concern for years. Remember the experienced mainframe veterans hitting retirement and are impossible to replace. IBM and the Open Mainframe Project have been working on this and finally appear to be making headway.

To start, IBM has been expanding the capabilities of the mainframe itself. Over 20 years ago, IBM introduced Linux on the mainframe. That provided, at some level, an alternative to zOS. It was clunky and inelegant at first but over the last two decades it has been refined. Today there are powerful LinuxONE mainframes that can handle the largest transaction workloads. IBM has made it easier to use Linux as a Linux machine with the power of the z15. Throw in Java on the mainframe and you have a very flexible mainframe that doesn’t look and feel like a traditional mainframe.

More recently, the Open Mainframe Project introduced Zowe. a new open-source framework. Zowe brings together systems that were not designed to handle global networks of sensors and devices. Now, decades since IBM brought Linux to the mainframe, IBM CA, and Rocket Software introduced Zowe, a new open-source software framework that bridges the divide between modern challenges like IoT, cloud development, and the mainframe. 

The point of all this is to enable any developer to manage, control, script, and develop on the mainframe as he or she would on any cloud platform. Additionally, Zowe allows teams to use the same familiar, industry-standard, open-source tools they already know and use them to access, call, and integrate mainframe resources and services. So you can stop pining for those retired mainframe veterans. They’re drinking Scotch on the beach.

Ironically the mainframe is probably older than the programmers Zowe will attract. Zowe opens new possibilities for next generation applications from next generation programmers and developers for mainframe shops desperately needing new, mission-critical applications for which customers are clamoring. This should radically reduce the learning curve for the next generation, while making experienced professionals more efficient. BTW, Zowe’s code is made available under the open-source Eclipse Public License 2.0.

Whether it is Zowe or just the opening of the mainframe things are changing in the right direction. The people with 1-10 years experience on the mainframe have increase from 47% to 63% while those with more than 20 years of mainframe experience represent 18%. Most encouraging is the growth of women, who now constitute 40% (from 30% a year before) while men have declined from 70% to 60%. 

When DancingDinosaur was young with a full head of dark hair he complained of the dearth of women at IT conferences. Now, as he approaches retirement, he hopes the young men appreciate it. 

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com and here.

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When DancingDinosaur was young with a full head of dark hair he complained of the dearth of women at IT conferences. Now, as he approaches retirement, he hopes the young men appreciate it. 

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com and here.

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