If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(BBC-US)   Happy 50th birthday, IBM mainframe. If you'd like to interface with one, just book an airline ticket or check your bank balance   (bbc.com) divider line 29
    More: Interesting, IBM, production house, legacy system, processors, milestone  
•       •       •

1160 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Apr 2014 at 1:58 AM (33 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



29 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-04-07 02:08:20 AM  
Happy birthday. I wrote some of my first code for you to talk to a lamp stack.

*throws back slug*
 
2014-04-07 04:49:50 AM  
Little known fact, it's just the same mainframe, with a switch that you twiddle with a screwdriver to make it go faster.
 
2014-04-07 04:59:17 AM  
I'm the same age as an IBM mainframe!

And when I'm by myself I talk like a Cylon for fun....
 
2014-04-07 07:32:12 AM  
Mainframes - the original Cloud
 
2014-04-07 07:40:23 AM  

HighlanderRPI: Mainframes - the original Cloud


Heh.  Isn't it funny how the place that data is stored seems to slosh back-and-forth between remote and local?  I've been through a couple cycles of that at least.  Always with different names, but same-same.
 
2014-04-07 07:42:15 AM  
If you're itching for the IBM Mainframe experience, you can do it for very little cash.
 
2014-04-07 07:48:23 AM  
The IBM mainframe is older. It's been 50 years for the British version.

More focus on this than the 50 years of E-Type Jaguar. Philistines.
 
2014-04-07 07:54:29 AM  
We run a mainframe app here that's been slated for retirement for as long as I've worked here (22 years).  It holds some very key data that impacts all the activities in this Fortune 50 company.  Every 5 years or so a company like Siemens or SAP will come in promising to "modernize" system, "who uses green screens these days, you need something web bases, blah blah blah...".  I, along with a couple thousand concurrent users, can search a multi-billion record database with sub second responses.  Out mainframe system leaves their catch-phrase-of-the-day enterprise system crying in the fetal position in the corner of the shower.
 
2014-04-07 07:54:43 AM  
Mainframes rock, many thousands of Linux guests running on more IFLs than anywhere else makes for easy DR...
 
2014-04-07 08:41:45 AM  

Muta: We run a mainframe app here that's been slated for retirement for as long as I've worked here (22 years).  It holds some very key data that impacts all the activities in this Fortune 50 company.  Every 5 years or so a company like Siemens or SAP will come in promising to "modernize" system, "who uses green screens these days, you need something web bases, blah blah blah...".  I, along with a couple thousand concurrent users, can search a multi-billion record database with sub second responses.  Out mainframe system leaves their catch-phrase-of-the-day enterprise system crying in the fetal position in the corner of the shower.


Yep. My fiancé does configuration and database management for an IBM mainframe system that's in the process of being transitioned to a more "modern" system. They've been working on this transition for several years, and there's at least another year or two to go before the new system is expected to be ready for prime time. There are constant problems with the new system sending bad data to the old system. The mainframe just keeps chugging along, doing its job perfectly.  Whenever he gets called in the middle of the night on a support issue, it turns out to be the fault of the new system.

I've never thought to ask whether they're transitioning to one of IBM's Linux-based enterprise "solutions"... I wrote installer doc for some of those a few years ago, and they were definitely not ready for prime time.


/Amusingly, I often have to fix common Windows issues on his IBM work laptop because he's completely clueless about PCs. He's five years younger than I am, and he's working with some of the same technology my dad was using in the late 60s.
 
2014-04-07 09:18:04 AM  
Or I could just show up to work.

/ours is infinitely more reliable than any Linux or Windows server we've ever had
 
2014-04-07 09:22:21 AM  
Of course, the main frame is now owned by a Chinese company, like everything else IBM.

/much like their work force, which is down to a few thousand US employees and shrinking
 
2014-04-07 09:28:52 AM  

Muta: Out mainframe system leaves their catch-phrase-of-the-day enterprise system crying in the fetal position in the corner of the shower.


La Maudite: The mainframe just keeps chugging along, doing its job perfectly. Whenever he gets called in the middle of the night on a support issue, it turns out to be the fault of the new system.



Here's a tip for the IT you'uns out there.

Learn some COBOL, JCL, DB2. Make that your plan B in case that cool startup you work at goes under.
 
2014-04-07 09:39:19 AM  
The things that are going to kill off the traditional mainframe are IBM's and independent software vendor's unreasonable pricing policies and a shrinking pool of people who know how to work on and utilize them.
 
2014-04-07 10:00:33 AM  

dittybopper: If you're itching for the IBM Mainframe experience, you can do it for very little cash.


I want an IBM 3033 U. Then I can remove the guts that are less powerful than a cellphone and use the case as a summer home.
 
2014-04-07 11:26:41 AM  
I have the IBM "THINK" plaque my Dad got back in the 1960's on my desk.
 
2014-04-07 11:29:35 AM  

Stavr0: Here's a tip for the IT you'uns out there.

Learn some COBOL, JCL, DB2. Make that your plan B in case that cool startup you work at goes under.


My first (and current) IT job is testing an IBM mainframe system. I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I do.
 
2014-04-07 11:45:30 AM  
If you are starting out in IT, whether it is operations, engineering, programming, etc.. and you have a choice of getting in on either mainframe or midrange platforms, go with the mainframe.  It is likely you will have a more stable and better paying career.
 
2014-04-07 12:35:54 PM  
Herman Hollerith was using punch cards on a mainframe long before it was cool to run mainframes.

He'd be getting a big kick, etc, etc.

CSB

My high school used punch cards for attendance purposes (I graduated 1983).

Attendance was taken at the start of first period (7:50 - 8:40) and whoever was absent had their punch card placed in an envelope.
People went around to all the classes before the end of first period to collect those envelopes.
The cards were stacked into a hopper and a sorted list of names printed.
A copy of that list was distributed by (iirc) around 11 am with some "late arrivals" hand written in.

This was a way to weed out the "class skippers" from the absentees.

The school also had a relatively new PR1ME 450 computer with maybe twenty VT-100 terminals connected to it along with a PDP-8e with a handful of ASR-33 teletypes. Hand programming the PDP-8 via toggle switches was tedious but PAL3 programming was cool and it helped when I started 6502 and later 8086 assembly languages.

/CSB
 
2014-04-07 02:15:09 PM  
I'm not sold.  Far from it.

My last interaction with a Mainframe team wasn't good.   I'm converting a reporting system to new hardware.  I had to have the mainframe guys start sending the files to the new servers too.   It was so much work that we had to hire a contractor for them.  Something about JCL or something.

I know the files were divisional files so for each division they had a separate JCL? Stupid.  Where is the loop?  Where are the variables?  This concept is very basic in any other language.

What kind of interfaces does it have into other database systems?
 
2014-04-07 02:36:29 PM  
I really miss COBOL and JCL and ISPF,
4 years now since my forced 'retirement' happily living off my Retirement check and SS

get off my lawn
 
2014-04-07 03:09:46 PM  

Paleorific: If you are starting out in IT, whether it is operations, engineering, programming, etc.. and you have a choice of getting in on either mainframe or midrange platforms, go with the mainframe.  It is likely you will have a more stable and better paying career.


A shrinking market is still a shrinking market.
 
2014-04-07 03:10:33 PM  

Tango_down: I'm not sold.  Far from it.

My last interaction with a Mainframe team wasn't good.   I'm converting a reporting system to new hardware.  I had to have the mainframe guys start sending the files to the new servers too.   It was so much work that we had to hire a contractor for them.  Something about JCL or something.

I know the files were divisional files so for each division they had a separate JCL? Stupid.  Where is the loop?  Where are the variables?  This concept is very basic in any other language.

What kind of interfaces does it have into other database systems?



JCL statements tell z/OS where to find the appropriate input, how to process that input (that is, what program or programs to run), and what to do with the resulting output.
 
2014-04-07 04:46:35 PM  

Tango_down: I'm not sold.  Far from it.

My last interaction with a Mainframe team wasn't good.   I'm converting a reporting system to new hardware.  I had to have the mainframe guys start sending the files to the new servers too.   It was so much work that we had to hire a contractor for them.  Something about JCL or something.

I know the files were divisional files so for each division they had a separate JCL? Stupid.  Where is the loop?  Where are the variables?  This concept is very basic in any other language.

What kind of interfaces does it have into other database systems?


That's kinda like wondering why I can't plug in my 1932 Bugatti to charge the batteries. Everything is done differently at the higher level because the lower level didn't support what are now basic features at that time. If there was no need for two mainframes to be connected then they weren't designed for that.

I've designed a couple gateways that connect ancient legacy systems with modern servers. It's a very difficult but endless market you can get paid big bucks if you are making good products. As long as there is some sort of input/output bus then it's technically possible to connect it to any computer or system. The big complication comes from really specific mainframes that don't have any traditional I/O bus. I've seen creative solutions where a plug is made for the keyboard for input to the machine and another plug from the terminal screen port used as output. It allowed them to use machine vision to read the 80x80 video output and then "type" into the terminal to make it do work.

I've also met some serious characters while working with legacy systems. Those people are strange.
 
2014-04-07 05:20:48 PM  
I think my favorite mainframe story is that around 24 years ago an IBM services unit had their mainframe stolen overnight. Yep, that huge monstrosity all the drives, etc. I talked to one of the managers who was just shocked, asking where were these guys when we were installing?
 
2014-04-07 11:24:34 PM  
I still have a binder from an IBM 360 sitting on my shelf with documentation for a program that we have updated and still use today over 40 years later.
 
2014-04-08 02:32:09 AM  

dittybopper: HighlanderRPI: Mainframes - the original Cloud

Heh.  Isn't it funny how the place that data is stored seems to slosh back-and-forth between remote and local?  I've been through a couple cycles of that at least.  Always with different names, but same-same.


Infrastructure as a Service smells like mainframes as well.  Phone up IBM (or Honeywell or who ever you lease the remote frame from) and pay for more MIPS/MB's.  Seems about the same to me.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-08 08:18:29 AM  
The big story to me is the invention of backwards compatibility.

Isn't it funny how the place that data is stored seems to slosh back-and-forth between remote and local?

We recently passed the 45th anniversary of the "wheel of reincarnation" paper on display processors. People created special purpose graphics accelerators, noticed they were turning into full fledged CPUs as features crept in, and then decided it was better to have a dumb frame buffer driven by the main CPU. And that would work for a while. Then somebody would think it's easy to build hardware to draw a line or copy rectangles, so why don't we add just a tiny little accelerator to do that. And you know what, an logical-OR copy mode for font overlays would be nice, so we'll add that...
 
2014-04-08 11:25:23 AM  

Muta: Out mainframe system leaves their catch-phrase-of-the-day enterprise system crying in the fetal position in the corner of the shower.


At one of the companies I've worked for I made a really strong argument for replacing a cluster of aging machines doing DB work (Oracle) with a P690, which whilst not quite a full `frame is still not to be sniffed at.  Apparently I was not cool & dynamic and the cool & dynamic thing is to fill your available floor space with racks of blinky lights. 

Stavr0: Here's a tip for the IT you'uns out there.

Learn some COBOL, JCL, DB2. Make that your plan B in case that cool startup you work at goes under.


^ THIS ^  If you want to work for a big company (and most geeks do because that's supposedly where the best toys are) be prepared to encounter their mainframe.  It will be beligerant. It'll also blow your mind just how quickly it motors through a seemingly massive database.   Despite what you were taught in school: Mainframes are not dead.  They're now just hidden behind rack upon rack of Dell's doing front-of-house duties.
 
Displayed 29 of 29 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report