At our office, we give our mainframe product managers and engineers a hard time. When mainframe customers come in for meetings, we joke about ensuring that the customer briefing rooms have analog dial-up ports so our guests can check their AOL email during breaks. The reality is quite different. Yes, there are many grey-bearded experts who grew up with the mainframe and really understand the workings of the overall system. However, working right alongside these experts is a new generation of mainframe and application specialists – the Millennials (often called “Generation Y”). And, the exact reason why they’ve joined these companies is to work on leading edge cloud and mobile apps for the mainframe. Say what?
Since IBM’s introduction of the first mainframe in 1952, businesses have relied on them to run their mission-critical applications. Over the last 60 years, mainframe hardware has gotten smaller while workloads have grown significantly larger, requiring these systems to perform even faster. This rat race is to keep up with the increasing amount of data and transaction throughput, while satisfying the decreasing tolerance for transaction latency. So what does this all have to do with mobile apps and the cloud? The answer is EVERYTHING!
Mobile apps connected to mainframe computers bring the conveniences of just a decade ago to your mobile phone, tablet or wrist. Flash back a decade plus; were you verifying your savings account balances by driving to the local bank ATM or teller window? Were you waiting weeks for mailed or faxed paperwork on your fender bender car accident processed by your insurance agency? Or, maybe you thought nothing about waiting in line for the person ahead of you buying a gallon of milk who was filling out a check by hand (and usually extremely slowly)? Without mainframes and the Gen Y’ers developing innovative mobile applications, we might just be stuck doing these activities the same way. The good news is that mainframes enable every one of us to do away with all this waiting nonsense. (more…)