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Thought the mainframe was dead, eh? For those who process a lot of data (at that includes most major banks, insurance companies, and governments), there's no replacing the mainframe as the center of their computing world. While the "baby box" (as a friend of mine coins most non-mainframe systems) has its place, there's still quite a lot of work left for the big iron to do.
Skeptical? Think about it...businesses spent BILLIONS refurbishing their mainframe systems to handle the Y2K turnover (granted, Y2K was not mainframe-specific, but the investment was still made). Do you really think they'd do that and then mothball them? Doubtful. Those machines are still running, handling loads and users that take CLUSTERS of the other machines to handle. And they have reliability ratings that make the marketers of other systems drool.
But mainframes aren't sexy. Because of that, university and IT Training courses almost never include it (heck, when I got my degree, my course in COBOL was non-credit because I was a CS major, and it was a "MIS" course...true snobbery if I ever saw it).
So where do the new grads turn for help when they land a job requiring mainframe knowledge?
But, for those who still snivel that the S/390 platform is still old hat, IBM is showing that this is still one adaptable platform. They've ported Linux to it. Check it out here and here. Another article well worth reading is "The Cutting Edge: The Penguin and the Dinosaur" by Adam J. Thornton in the June 2000 issue of Linux Journal.
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