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Mainframe Penguins

The exciting news last week was the announcement from IBM of Emperor and Rockhopper—two Linux-based z Systems mainframe variants (and two species of penguin). That leaves 15 species of penguin left for IBM to choose names from (think king, Humboldt, little, or macaroni, for example). But let’s not get carried away!…

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One of the primary reasons for a complete rewrite of a system is to retire accumulated technical debt in a legacy application. Technical debt is at the heart of the common observation that legacy applications consume ridiculous amounts of money to keep the lights on, yet still it takes forever to make even minor changes. Decades old applications become brittle and break easily, so programmers not only have to make the change requested, but have to fix everything that they inadvertently break while doing so. This is the “spaghetti code” problem raised to the nth power. A rewrite or other replacement will indeed fix the problem, at least for now, BUT—then it will start over again in a new cycle…

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One of the best parts of my job is that I get to go to a number of enterprise computing conferences every year, which means that I get to talk to a lot of people who live and breathe big iron every day. This obviously includes hardware and software engineers (my people!), but also a lot of professionals who use mainframe computers every day. And one thing that I've noticed is that the healthcare industry is well represented in the mainframe community, which got me thinking about why the medical field relies on these machines so much. Here are what I see as the top reasons why just about every major healthcare organization in the United States continues to rely on mainframes every day…

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Last February, Compuware and BMC announced a joint initiative to coordinate the use of their respective tools, BMC Cost Analyzer, BMC MainView, and Compuware Strobe, to reduce mainframe software licensing cost. The announcement made last week confirms that the necessary integration between the various tools has been completed and is working as promised. Compuware this month also introduced the latest rev of its Topaz graphical management toolset for z Systems…

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The Mainframe Witch-Hunt

The Salem witch trials were an ugly moment in US history. A combination of groupthink, bad religion and confirmation bias led an entire community to act irrationally. And the results were not pretty. Twenty people—most of them women—were executed for being something we know they could not have been…

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Why does IBM just not go "all in" with the mainframe? IBM essentially has a monopoly on mainframes (except for in Japan). The worlds' largest corporations rely on the mainframe to run their businesses. The world's financial systems run on IBM mainframes. Why does IBM not focus on what they do really well, and grow their business efforts around the mainframe? It, and it's software are immensely profitable…

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