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“The mainframe is effectively a database server. It once was 'the' critical piece in an IT infrastructure. It’s no longer 'the' piece, but is 'a' critical piece remaining in many of the large transaction based shops that exist around the world,” Jonathan said.

Summary

In this podcast we hear from Jonathan Adams about the state of mainframe computers and current staffing skill supply. Jonathan advises that, indeed, the mainframe computer remains very much a vital IT infrastructure element in many organizations such as banking, finance, retail, manufacturing and even some governmental organizations. This is especially true for organizations that must process a high volume of transactions, such as credit card swipes. BMC Sotware business worldwide also sees mainframe utilization growing in other geographies such as Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. (BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China)

 

It is true that mainframes are a mature part of the IT infrastructure and the staff is among the older segment of the IT shop personnel. Jonathan reported from his experience, shops are finding universities are not necessarily equipping students to work in the mainframe environment. Therefore, many IT shops need to have their own training programs and provide additional on-the-job training.

 

Jonathan discusses the user interface support BMC provides with its mainframe tools. Covered is support for the “green screen” 24 line by 80 character style display that continues to be used effectively by point-of-sales terminals, as well as modern innovation tools using a more graphically rich interface.

Jonathan_Adams_BMC.pngBio

Jonathan Adams is the vice president of Data and Performance Management, Mainframe Service Management, at BMC Software. He leads the development, support, and quality assurance for the DB2, IMS, MainView, and middleware management products. Before joining BMC in 1995, he worked at Bell-South Services, where he held a variety of analyst and systems programmer positions in technical support and data center operations.

 

 

 

Questions

  1. What is the state of mainframes today? Are their numbers growing or shrinking?
  2. What kind of IT shops have mainframes and what kinds of applications are they running these days?
  3. Are there any geographic or demographic trends with mainframes, skills required and staffing availability?
  4. How does service optimization fit into the mainframe organization?
  5. Mainframe groups are being asked to handle greater workloads, bigger databases, more applications all while cutting or losing staff. What effect has this had on staffing issues?
  6. Speaking about staffing, what do you do to keep or interest the younger IT type person. Is there some intersection between mainframe computing and mobile computing for potential staffing?

Resources

White Paper: MAINFRAME SKILLS SHORTAGE? NO PROBLEM

Blog Post: Got Skills

 

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