Are You a Mainframe Expert

If you’re looking for a theme running through this week’s mainframe trivia challenge, it’s all about preparing for future mainframe crises before they happen. Making hay while the sun shines, fixing the roof before it rains…you pick your favorite metaphor.

When it comes to finding experienced staff to run the mainframe, we all know the future is looking a bit…uncertain. Between the ever-increasing demands on mainframes, the ticking demographic time bomb of staff retirement, and a lack of trained and experienced mainframe technicians coming down the pike, businesses need a multi-pronged approach to ensure that they are ready for whatever the future is getting ready to lob at them. 

Sound familiar? Mark Wilson’s article, “Solo: A Mainframe Story” (♧ HINT) addresses these particular issues facing so many businesses, comparing the complexities of a mainframe operation to Han Solo piloting the Millenium Falcon through a space minefield. These operations are best not carried out solo – but with limited resources, skills, and capacity, what’s a business to do?  Wilson suggests a three-part approach to ensuring that mainframe systems can continue to promise “zero downtime’” even in less-than-ideal situations. 

In his article, “Fix the Roof When the Sun Is Shining: Data Loss and Prevention,” (♧ HINT) Wilson (Vertali’s Technical Director and an internationally recognized expert on mainframe security and technology) expands on the theme of preparing for future crises. In this article, Wilson addresses the issues of mainframe data loss in particular and cybersecurity in general.

Though people tend to think of mainframes as being generally more secure than cloud-based operations, Wilson directs our attention to the multiple potential data leaks that can lead to full-scale data breaches. From the more obvious (like FTP and SMTP or commercial products like XCOM) to the less readily apparent (Wilson’s particular bugbear being READ access to data), Wilson makes an impassioned plea to businesses to get their houses in order before data leaks create a deluge. Do yourself – and your mainframe – a favor and read the whole article.

Sonja Soderlund is an Oregon-based B2B freelance writer. Whether writing about mainframe computers, educational technology, or sustainable retail, she strives to bring clarity to complex issues. Connect with her at or LinkedIn.