The Mainframe Is Dead. Long Live the Mainframe!

  • Glen Sagers Illinois State University
  • Kathleen Ball Illinois State University
  • Bryan Hosack Illinois State University
  • Doug Twitchell Illinois State University
  • David Wallace Illinois State University
Keywords: Mainframe, Enterprise Computing, Enterprise Systems, Education, COBOL

Abstract

Many have predicted the death of the mainframe over the last 10 to 20 years, yet it is still is a large part of enterprise computing today. Companies not only use the mainframe for “legacy” applications, but are also developing new ap- plications for mainframes, resulting in a rise in mainframe sales. These increases, along with an aging mainframe work- force and academia’s move away from mainframe-related curricula and courses, has resulted in a shortage of workers trained in mainframe applications. In this paper we report on a U.S.-based survey of industry and academia that con-firms the existence of this problem. We conclude with some possible future research directions to explore as possible so- lutions to this potential dilemma.

Author Biographies

Glen Sagers, Illinois State University

Glen Sagers works as an Associate Professor at the School of Information Technology at the Illinois State University. His primary focus has been teaching the telecommunications and networking classes among others.

Kathleen Ball, Illinois State University

Kathleen Ball she is the Director of Decision Support at Springfield Clinic and has experiences as a programmer and analyst.

Bryan Hosack, Illinois State University

Bryan Hosack works as an Associate Professor at at the School of Information Technology at the Illinois State University. He has been a faculty member st ISU since the fall of 2006. His primary focus has been teaching the undergraduate database processing courses.

Doug Twitchell, Illinois State University

Doug Twitchell works as an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University. He received my Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona in 2005 and holds a B.S. in Business Management and Masters of In- formation Systems Management from Brigham Young University. His interests include information assurance and security, text mining, conversational analysis and profiling, machine learning, and natural language processing.

David Wallace, Illinois State University

David Wallace works as an Associate Professor at the School of Information Technology at the Illinois State University. His primary focus has been program- ming, Web-programming and Informations Systems Analysis/Design.

References

[1] ABET. (2008). Criteria for Accrediting Computing Programs Effective for Evaluations During the 2007-2008 Accreditation Cycle. Available: http:// www.abet.org/.
[2] ABET. (2007). Accreditation Statistics. Available: http://www.abet.org.
[3] Alsop, S. (1994). Even if mainframes stay, glass-house thinking is on its way. InfoWorld, April 19, 1993, Vol. 15(16), p. 4.
[4] Arranga, E. (2000). In Cobol’s Defense. IEEE Software. Vol. 17(2), March-April, pp.70-72,75.
[5] Bray, H. (2005). Who’ll Mind the Mainframes? Few Students Are Learning to Run Decidedly Unsexy, but Vital, Systems. The Boston Globe, August 26, Third Edition, Business p. C1.
[6] Buyya, R., Yeo, C. S., Venugopal, S., Broberg, J., and Brandic, I. (2009) Cloud computing and emerging IT platforms: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering computing as the 5th utility, Future Generation Computer Systems. Vol. 25(6), pp. 599-616.
[7] Carr, D. and Kizior, R. J. (2003). Continued Relevance of COBOL in Business and Academia: Current Situation and Comparison to the Year 2000 Study. Information Systems Education Journal, Vol. 1(52), pp. 1-24.
[8] Cringley, R. X. (2008). Azul Means (Big) Blue: There’s a new kind of mainframe coming and it isn’t from IBM, Available: http://www.pbs.org/ cringely/pulpit/2008/pulpit_20080229_004404.html.
[9] Daga, A., de Cesare, S. Lycett, M., and Partridge, C. (2005) An Ontological Approach for Recovering Legacy Business Content, Proceedings of the 38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS’05), pp.224a.
[10] Evelyn, R. (2002). COBOL’s Revenge: When Programs Outlive the Programmers. Available: http://www.devx.com/devx/editorial/16357.
[11] Farber, D. (2008). IBM and the resurrection of the mainframe. Available: http://www.news.com/8301-13953_3-9933108-80.html.
[12] Fortune 500. (2006). Fortune, April 17th, 2006.
[13] Furneaux, B. and Wade, M. (2011) An Exploration of Organizational Level Information Systems Discontinuance Intentions, MIS Quarterly, (35: 3) pp.573-598.
[14] Garvey, M. J. (2002). Mainframe Talent: An Endangered Species. Information Week. March 4.
[15] IBM. (2004). The IT Skills Crisis: A Literature Review. Whitepaper: IBM Canada.
[16] IBM. (2008) IBM Academic Initiative, System z. IBM Corporation, Available: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/forums/servlet/JiveServlet/ download/1224-190447-14037891-317351/IBM_Academic_Initiative_ Systemz_2008.pdf.
[17] Kanter, H. A., and Muscarello, T. J. (2005). Reuse versus Rewrite: An Empirical Study of Alternative Software Development Methods for Web-enabling Mission-critical COBOL/CICS Legacy Applications: Fujitsu Software.
[18] Kelly, Sue; Gibson, Nicola; Holland, Christopher P.; and Light, Ben (1999) Focus Issue on Legacy Information Systems and Business Process Change: A Business Perspective of Legacy Information Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems: Vol. 2(7).
[19] Light, B. (2003) An Alternative Theory of Legacy Information Systems, Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Infonvation Systems (ECIS 2003). ECIS Publications, 2003.
[20] McGirr, G., Barker, R., Decker, J., & Schmidt, G. (2004). Crisis with COBOL: Where Industry and IT Departments Stand. Available: http://www.micsymposium.org/mics_2004/Mcgirr.pdf.
[21] Paulson, L. D. (2006). IT Hiring Growth Modest, But Steady. IT Professional, Vol. 8(1), January-February, pp. 6-9.
[22] Robb, D. (2007). Legacy Life Support. Computerworld, July 30. Available: http://proquest.umi.com/ pqdweb?did=1333796581&Fmt=7&clientId=4 3838&RQT=309&VName=PQD.
[23] Roggio, R. F., Comer, J. R., & Brauda, P. (2003). IS Programs become Accredited: COBOL in Crisis. Information Systems Education Journal. Vol. 1(15), pp. 1-10.
[24] Schumpeter, John (2012). IBM’s mainframes: Old dog, new tricks. Available: http://www.economist.com/ blogs/schumpeter/2012/09/ibmsmainframes
[25] Swoyer, S. (2006). Mainframe Sales Drive Surging Server Market. Enterprise Systems. Available: http://esj.com/enterprise/article. aspx?EditorialsID=2316.
[26] TIP (2008). The mainframe Conundrum: Escalating Workloads, Shrinking Staff. Whitepaper from TheInfoPro, Inc. Study commissioned by Computer Associates. Available at http://ca.com/Files/IndustryResearch/the-mainframe-conundrum.pdf.
[27] Whiting, R. (2006). Service Hubs: New Career Options for Mainframes. Information Week. May 8, 2006, News & Analysis. p. 26.
Published
2018-08-23
How to Cite
[1]
Sagers, G., Ball, K., Hosack, B., Twitchell, D. and Wallace, D. 2018. The Mainframe Is Dead. Long Live the Mainframe!. AIS Transactions on Enterprise Systems. 2, 1 (Aug. 2018).
Section
Article