Skills shortage?

Been following a conversation on the IMS listserver about how to keep IMS data for 15-20 years (e.g. for legal reasons or whatever). Started with good technical recommendations and moved on to what about the skills? No point in having the data if you don't have anyone who knows IMS in 20 years time. Just read this great entry on the subject:

Why blame somebody else for missing skills. Every company should have a list of critical skills. If that company takes skill seriously, they will know that they need to educate some people with IMS.

It should not be that difficult to hire some students from university, tell them if they start learning IMS they will have a job for the next 20 years and off you go. Or something like they did in Germany "Small computers, small salary, big computer, big salary". Or tell them a Java/PHP/C/C++/J2EE programmer competes in a global market with 100 Mio chinese and people from india. How about somebody who knows TSO and JCL? Likely to compete with less than 10000 people in the world.

Sure it takes at least 2-5 years till they can walk alone, but it's worth the effort.

Spot on.

by pwarmstrong February 22, 2007 in Future
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eWeek on Mainframe Vitality

eWeek: Long Live the Mainframe!

eWeek is long on the mainframe, as noted in this article reported from the SHARE conferrence last week in Tampa.

Here's the story: eWeek: Long Live the Mainframe

It gives some great attention to the academic initiative as well as the $100 million mainframe simplification effort.

What's cooler is the increased attention that zNextGen is getting.  It's the core of the youth movement around the mainframe with over 200 members from over 80 companies (led by a 23 year old mainframe whiz, no less).

by Kevin Acocella February 20, 2007 in Future
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Virtualization news for mainframe

Following up on Tim's post, here is the press release from IBM.  Check out Tim's post below for some more perspective...

IBM Supercharges Mainframe Virtualization

Helping Customers Reduce Server Sprawl, Company Launches New Scalability Enhancements to Support the Industry's Largest Number of Virtual Images on a Single z/VM

ARMONK, NY - 06 Feb 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced expanded scalability enhancements to the industry's most powerful virtualization technology z/VM. With this new release, z/VM version 5.3 can now host the industry's largest number of virtual images on a single hypervisor -- virtualization technology that makes one computer look like multiple computers -- allowing customers to further optimize and consolidate their infrastructures.

Internal testing conducted by IBM reveals that the new virtualization product release can host more than 1,000 virtual images on a single copy of z/VM. The new software, which can be used to replace many physical servers with "virtual" ones running in a single mainframe, helps customers lower energy consumption and other costs associated with data centers that have large numbers of single-application servers.

The announcement follows a year of remarkable growth and interest in the mainframe at IBM, as System z has chalked three consecutive quarters of growth, thanks in part to its advanced virtualization capabilities.

The latest z/VM release helps clients prepare for data center growth by offering support for larger memory configurations which are designed to help clients eliminate the need to spread large virtual-machine based workloads across multiple copies of z/VM.

In addition to enhancing memory utilization, the new software plans to deliver increased CPU capacity with support for up to 32 Processor Units -- raising the limit from 24 to 32 processors -- a 33 percent increase over the previous release of z/VM. Combined with Linux on System z, the software makes more informed choices about how memory is managed allowing z/VM to run more virtual servers in the same amount of memory.

Customers worldwide are already testing this technology. Marist College sees the benefit of having increased scalability as they look to grow their data center. The college currently has a research project where each student is provided with their own virtual Linux server through the use of z/VM.

"We started with a dozen images about five years ago, have now scaled up to more than 600 Linux images hosted by z/VM on a System z9 Business Class. We expect continued growth and we can accommodate this growth without requiring additional hardware or having to distribute our workload on multiple systems," said Martha McConaghy, Strategic Planner and Project Manager, Marist College. "The scalability of the z/VM allows us to provide resources to our students that we couldn't have afforded if we had to provide physical hardware for each of them."

"IBM recognizes that clients are challenged with growing amounts of data, at the same time that costs related to energy consumption, floor space and maintenance are making them wary of server sprawl," said Mark Anzani, vice president, System z Products, IBM Systems and Technology. "With this latest breakthrough, IBM continues to make substantial investments to grow its industry-leading virtualization technology so that clients can accommodate larger workloads while minimizing IT costs."

With the introduction of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server and associated client services, z/VM provides a more comprehensive security solution with new user authentication, authorization and auditing capabilities. Security capabilities are also enhanced through the use of password phrases. Additional data protection capabilities are provided by exploitation of drive-based data encryption provided by the IBM System Storage TS1120, IBM's tape encryption solution.

When used in conjunction with z/VM, IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE helps identify, isolate and correct problems across the mainframe virtualization software providing views and monitoring workloads for virtual machines, groups, response times and LPAR reporting. Tivoli software solutions such as OMEGAMON XE provide the basis for a service management platform that enables process automation and integration to achieve the operational efficiencies and effectiveness that our customers demand for their IT environments.

z/VM virtualization technology is designed to give clients the capability to run thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe running either with other System z operating systems, such as z/OS, or as a large-scale Linux-only enterprise server solution. z/VM V5.3 can also help to improve productivity by hosting non-Linux workloads such as z/OS, z/VSE and z/TPF. z/VM V5.3 runs on IBM System z9 (z9 EC and z9 BC) and IBM eServer zSeries (z800, z900, z890, z990) servers.

IBM z/VM version 5.3 will be available for purchase on June 29, 2007 through IBM and IBM Business Partners. For information about IBM and its virtualization solutions, please visit

by Kevin Acocella February 7, 2007
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Two Big System z Operating System Announcements

IBM announced z/VM 5.3 yesterday and previewed z/OS 1.9.

Why should you care? If you're a Linux geek (on any platform) you'll want to review z/VM 5.3 to understand what this first class hypervisor can do for your business. If you're an enterprise computing geek you'll want to take a look at the long list of new features in z/OS to understand what this preeminent enterprise OS can deliver.

z/VM 5.3:
z/OS 1.9:

IBM announcement letters can be a bit obtuse sometimes since they're so jam packed. Post a comment if you're puzzled with any particulars, and your fellow Mainframe Blog reader can translate.

by Timothy Sipples February 7, 2007
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Masters of the Mainframe!!!


The mainframe continues to attract new talent and enthusiasm from some of the brightest students in IT and business programs today.

Check out just a few of the new faces – each of whom competed in the 2006 IBM Master the Mainframe Contest.

Across the U.S. and Canada, over 1,000 students put their mainframePokor_bust_12 skills to the test in pursuit of a number of awards, including an opportunity to visit IBM’s Poughkeepsie facility in New York – the center of the universe as far as mainframe research, development and manufacturing is concerned.

Contests like these are being planned worldwide.  Last year's student mainframe contest in the U.K. drew over 700 students.

Mainframe_moto_4Keep an eye on this blog for more information on the contest winners.  Awards will be presented formally to the top students at an event in Poughkeepsie in March.  We’ll be sure to post the pictures from the event.

*Send pictures of you and your mainframe to


by Timothy Sipples February 6, 2007 in Future
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