Mainframe computing versus alternative platforms

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Oct 8, 2011
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This thread is open for discussion of the varied IT platforms and what they bring to the party.

I'm a committed mainframer, but recognise the value that other platforms bring to a comprehensive IT infrastructure.

Others seem to believe that it has had its day and is the ugly sister of IT platforms.

I'd love to hear views from my IT chums here.
 


jcdf

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Sep 8, 2005
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You mean versus microcomputers or personal computers or supercomputers or cloud computing?

Mainframe computers certainly maintains the advantage in security.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,553
You mean versus microcomputers or personal computers or supercomputers or cloud computing?

Mainframe computers certainly maintains the advantage in security.
I mean all of them really. In my time I've introduced PCs to ESB (totally standalone at the time and running a combination of Displaywrite and Lotus 123; we moved on to Smart - an "integrated application suite" which allowed data exchange between its word processor, database and spreadsheat; it also had a programming language. In those pre-windows days quite revolutionary. I've worked on VAX systems - VMS was a great OS, and on AS/400. ince '92, though, I've worked solely on mainframes.

The various platforms have their benefits. At one stage they all consciously made sure that their performance couldn't really be compared; To take an example, Digital's VAX machines were measured in terms of VUPs (VAX Units of Performance), while mainframes used MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second). It was fun testing them. The VAX was great at processing ForTran, while CoBOL was chewed up by IBM mainframes.


I guess I opened this thread because of this portrayal of mainframers a bitter contractors trudging slowly towards a retirement and working resignedly on low wages in Hull.

That is wrong.

The industry is reshaping itself in response to the realisation that many framers are reaching retirement and that the critical systems on which huge companies depend on them. IBM are funding a push to have mainframe skills included on college courses. I myself found myself some years ago on a recruitment drive for graduates where starting positions for graduates willing to start on mainframe work were a full 50% higher than rates for other platforms. Bill Gates himself described IBM sysprogs as the "priesthood" of computing.

The thing is that on the mainframe we have to respond to new tech all of the time; new demands by the public have to be serviced or banks will go under. This usually involves changes in middleware or cha,ges at the presentation level, but sometimes also involves changes close to the core systems.

This is often where the tired old meme of "aging creaking systems" crops up.

Some of these systems are definitely old. Their age is a tribute to them, though. They are old simply because they were well-crafted and they still work.Some applications I've seen which are over forty years old have in effect what are APIs. They work, though. All of the banking and major failures I've seen (with one major exception) resided off-host.
 


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