Applications & Integrations

Need Mainframers? Grow Local Talent

The IT industry is facing a mainframe skills shortage in the not-too-distant future. And for some companies, the future is now. According to a recent survey by Computerworld, 22 percent of COBOL programmers are 55 and older. Some 50 percent are between the ages of 45 and 55, setting the stage for a mass exodus of experienced programmers over the next two decades…

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Veryant’s recent announcement that there’s now market demand for new developer training in COBOL has raised the usual questions and an interesting new one. For the past 15 years, a recurring IT question has been whether COBOL skills are still needed. Isn’t there some way to avoid new COBOL programming and just migrate developers off COBOL and similar pre-’90s programming languages, of which few, if any, recent computer science department graduates have any knowledge? The idea that COBOL development skills will live on into a new generation raises the surprising question: Should they? Is it still a good idea to program new code in COBOL, FORTRAN, or PL/I, or would we be better off if all programming (mainframe or otherwise) was in, say, JavaScript?…

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Big Data … I’m sure you’ve heard the term, but what is it? The cynic in me wants to say there’s no universal definition because the marketers want to keep it nebulous. You know the drill—every product adapts, at least in the marketing literature, to become part of the next big thing. In this case, the next big thing is Big Data…

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Projects with multiple sponsors are particularly susceptible to scope creep, as each stakeholder tries to add his or her favorite features without visibility into what the others might be asking. The poor project manager must contend with requests coming from all directions; depending on the relative strengths of the personalities involved, requirements may move in one direction or another, and the results may be disastrous…

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Best practices for transactional application systems aren’t always relevant to an enterprise data warehouse. There are structural differences, including database design and data access profiles. There are also different priorities. For example, data availability may be a higher priority than data recovery. Another significant difference is perceived performance. While an Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) system user might expect sub-second response, in the data warehouse, analytical queries may run for minutes or hours. Adding to this is the differing knowledge and expertise of the support staff, as well as a proliferation of departments managing various aspects of the data warehouse. What are the biggest differences? What are the biggest challenges for staff, Database Administrators (DBAs), and managers?…

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The Mission-Critical Data Warehouse

While we contend that data recoverability isn’t important for a data warehouse implementation, some might strongly disagree! Indeed, there have been articles written about data warehouse instances where companies designated the data warehouse as “mission-critical,” where customers depended on the data in the data warehouse for significant, important, or timely information. In these cases, the DBA must coordinate which recovery options to implement:…

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EMC, an industry leader in data storage, recently introduced technologies that give mainframe storage users much greater ability to actively manage the performance of stored data. As explained by EMC’s Flavio Fomin, the new technologies are Virtual Provisioning (VP) and Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) VP. In an interview with Enterprise Tech Journal, he explains what these technologies do, how they work, and what benefits they provide…

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Since the much heralded passing of Steve Jobs, time has ambled along at a brisk pace. Facebook went public, HP announced it is eliminating 27,000 jobs and Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5 this fall. The list goes on. As these events unfold around us, one wonders if there will be another visionary like Mr. Jobs, who will elegantly advance technology as he did to give people what they never even dreamed they wanted. Or, whether our century will see the likes of another Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, the U.S. Naval Officer and pioneering computer scientist who co-created COBOL. We don’t know. But, the field is wide open, and as IT professionals who help shape technology, we should care…

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