Tuesday, August 24, 2021

 Mainframe is original cloud!

Get this all the time when teaching university kids on Cyber Security, Audit, Project Management. Especially when I tell them that we were in Cloud Computing in 1990s. Everyone gets surprised and when I start telling them old and new it starts making sense.

Essentially, then, mainframes were the original cloud. Going back decades, mainframes allowed companies to build cloud infrastructure “avant la letter” (which is a fancy way of saying “before the term cloud infrastructure existed”).

Old Name

New Name

Mainframe

Cloud Computing

Dumb Terminal

Thin Client, Hyper-V, Citrix Workspace, Zero Client

LPAR (Logical Partition)

Virtual Machine (VM), Docker, Container, Kubernetes - Now (as of Feb 2022) mainframe supports RedHat Open Shift Container

Virtual Machines VM/370

VMWare, VirtualBox and KVM

IBM's Resource Access Control Facility (RACF), Computer Associates’ Access Control Facility 2 (ACF2), Computer Associates’ Top Secret

Role Based Access Control, Zero Trust, Identity and Access Management.

Direct Access Storage Device (DASD), Millions of Instructions Per Second (MIPS)

Segregated Storage and Compute

Air-Gapped Networks

Zero Trust

Message Queue (MQ)

API

Baby Boomer, Generation X and Y are already in love with mainframe. Majority of Generation Z still don't know much about Mainframe and its capabilities like availability, LPAR, RACF and ability to segregate storage and compute. IBM is working hard and I think Z15 will bring Generation Z closer to Mainframe.

The mainframe is a workhorse. Yet, its power and potential are hidden from most people who work in the modern cloud. This is surprising because there’s a good argument to be made that, given its power and scalability, coupled with its support for a large number of concurrent users, the mainframe was the cloud before there ever was a cloud.

However, the technology is practically unknown among younger developers, mostly due to cultural reasons and a lack of historical awareness. That more people are not taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities at hand is a misfortune. When it comes to mainframe computing, there’s a lot of interesting technology to be learned and a good amount of money to be made. It’s just a matter of increasing awareness to do this. A good place to start is to redefine the narrative.

Reference List:

·        https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ibm-z16-my-interview-rebecca-lavesque-tina-tarquinio/
https://www.precisely.com/blog/mainframe/mainframes-matter-cloud-computing
https://devops.com/mainframes-the-cloud-before-the-cloud/ 
https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/04/back-future-cloud-wont-replace-mainframe
https://www.ibm.com/blogs/systems/unbearable-lightness-mainframe-cloud/
https://zos-hot-topics.com/2022/openshift/