60 Years of Continuous Transformation

Sunday, April 7th is the anniversary of IBM Mainframe, this year celebrating the memorable milestone of 60 years of existence.

Officially launched on April 7, 1964, under the name IBM System/360 (S/360), aimed at being a multipurpose platform, with a 360° view of companies and being able to meet all their computing needs, serving all industries.

The official announcement was made by the chairman of the board Thomas Watson Jr, son of the founder of IBM. He invested 5 billion dollars in the project, an enormous sum at the time, which put IBM’s very survival at risk if the project was not successful.

The platform was initially designed to serve the Apollo project, launched in 1961 by American President John Kenedy. The Apollo project carried out its great mission in 1969 when man set foot on the Moon for the first time. The S/360 was the protagonist of this project, from the construction of the aircraft to monitoring its entire trajectory, from launch to the return of the aircraft and astronauts to Earth.

While there were several other computer manufacturers at the time—IBM itself had other platforms—they all had the same limitations. Most computers of the time did not offer application compatibility with new computer models from the same manufacturer and every model change required a rewrite of the application.

It was with the aim of maintaining application compatibility forever that the S/360 platform established itself on the market. A program written in 1964 could continue to operate for years, representing a huge value proposition for companies. This preservation of investments, time, and data, sets it apart from its competitors. 

This virtue of the S/360 displaced other suppliers and conquered the market, becoming the great engine of the global economy, transforming business models that existed until then and enabling new businesses. The IBM S/360 transformed the financial industry, civil aviation, public sector, insurance, and other industries, where it remains dominant today.

Over these 60 years of continuous modernization, the platform has gone by the names S/370, S/390, and others. Currently called IBM Z, it has always reflected the industry’s current situation and followed the demands of the market and society. Today it supports the most modern codes (examples: Java, C, GO, Python) in addition to the traditional Cobol and Pl/1. It supports technologies for Hybrid Cloud, AI, Analytics, DevOps, Containers, Linux, Open Source, and others without losing the original premises of its architecture, Data Integrity, Reliability Availability, and Serviceability.

Being the longest-lived technology in the industry, its durability is explained by continuous modernization and its impact on the global economy. Every time a bank transaction, a credit card purchase, or an airline booking is made, it is interacting with a Mainframe application running somewhere in the world.

To understand how the platform has remained relevant and current over so many years, in an industry as innovative and fast-paced as IT, we have to use Charles Darwin’s phrase:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the most adaptable to change.”

With this thought guiding its horizon, the platform continues its journey of bringing impact, innovation, and transformation to its users and is very relevant to IBM’s business. IBM continues to make Mainframe and Mainframe continues to make IBM.

Meet Daniel Raisch, an experienced Executive Enterprise Architect at Eccox Technology with over 25 years of expertise in the field. He holds certifications in AWS, AZURE, and IBM Mainframe and has dedicated the last five years to leading mainframe modernization and cloud migration projects. Daniel is revolutionizing the way his customers do business with Eccox Container Technology for z/OS Native Applications. With this cutting-edge technology, Eccox is empowering developers to create new and innovative solutions on the platform while also accelerating project timelines and providing a fresh value proposition for the Mainframe platform on its journey toward digital transformation and modernization. To learn more about this game-changing technology, visit https://www.eccoxapt.com/

One thought on “IBM Mainframe — 60 Years of Continuous Transformation”
  1. Absolutely fascinating.
    I was part if with life is IBM as a hardware engineer in Manchester for over thirty years up to the early 2000’s and meet work colleagues socially And regularly- brllliant!

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