IT Dinosaurs – is the Mainframe Extinct?


I was playing with my grandson and he loves dinosaurs. As we were playing my mind wondered to the mainframe being called a dinosaur over 25 years ago and how it was soon going to be extinct. When I first heard this, I assumed that it would happen in 5 to 10 years. As I know today the mainframe is still running many critical applications and transactions every day. So the mainframe is not extinct…yet the people that administrate them are retiring at a very fast pace, so it makes it hard to find someone to take care of the mainframe on a daily basis.

The experienced mainframe “Systems Programmer”, in my opinion, is going to be extinct very soon, as they become harder and harder to find. We can find a few new IT professionals coming out of college that might be interested in becoming a mainframe systems programmer, but they grew up in a Windows operating system era where it is easier to “re-boot” the system instead of mainframe configuration changes and preventive management. The mainframe systems programmer has spent years honing this mind set and gaining the experience to trouble shoot various mainframe situations. Case in point, I got a call of panic from a non-FNTS mainframe client that was having issues that they could not figure out a solution. I got one of our system programmers on a call with their team and he had it resolved in 2 hours (1 hour was getting access to their mainframe remotely). The company told us it could of took them 20-30 hours of research, configuration and testing to get this company’s crippling issue resolved, so experience is very important in the mainframe systems programming role.

Another way to solve the problem of fewer system programmers is to look at a Mainframe Managed Services company. Companies like FNTS can provide system programmer services remotely on our mainframe environment in our data center. There are many companies shrinking their workload as they sunset applications that are running on the mainframe. FNTS can take these shrunk workloads and put it in a dedicated partition to reduce the overall cost. Most of the time it is hard to find an equivalent open systems application to replace the mainframe application so some companies are stuck with a small mainframe work load of years. Whichever the situation, FNTS can provide mainframe services to these companies allowing them to focus on their core business objectives. Speaking of focused, I need to stay focused on playing with my grandson before I become extinct!

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