Trivia For A Mainframe Expert. Are You One? | May 24, 2023

Are You a Mainframe Expert
By Sonja Soderlund

When the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook hits the inboxes of mainframe devotees globally, it offers a chance to look back – and forward – on the ever-evolving world of Big Iron. 

According to Trevor Eddolls, the yearbook’s editorial director, this free resource has been a reference manual for IT professionals working with z/OS systems (and their predecessors) since 2005. In “All You Need to Know About Mainframes,” (♧ HINT) Eddolls takes Planet Mainframe readers on a tour of what 2023’s yearbook offers.

The 154-page yearbook is a one-stop-treasure-trove for mainframers, beginning with overviews of the state of the industry and reflections on challenges and new trends facing the technology. You can download the whole thing or just choose PDFs of the parts that stand out to you. 

Editorial content aside, there is also a vendor directory, glossary of terminology, and timelines on mainframe evolution. The yearbook continues to be an essential resource whether you’re a mainframe newbie or an old hand. Check out Eddolls’ overview for more details on this year’s edition.

And while we’re speaking of old hands…

For those that have been working with mainframes for decades, the continuity that the mainframe offers can be a pretty impressive benefit. This is especially true considering how much the platform has developed in that timeframe. 

Mainframe expert and enthusiast, Tom Leader, recently wrote an article, “Taking the Mainframe Back to the Future” (♧ HINT) that reflects this theme. In the essay, Leader relays a recent experience he had in which an old CICS COBOL test application fit exactly what he needed to demonstrate the creation of document output from a CICS application for an ongoing project. 

But would it work?

The article is definitely worth a read, and suffice it to say that the resilience and continuity that the mainframe platform provides are reasons that the hand-wringing over “the end of the mainframe” is almost certainly premature.

Without further ado, we suggest that you peruse these articles and take a stab at this week’s quiz:

According to the Mainframe User Survey, what percentage of sites are using DevOps?

  1. 43
  2. 52
  3. 67
  4. 78

Click to Reveal Answer

C: 67

What percentage of respondents say that they are reusing APIs to speed up application development?

  1. 62
  2. 73
  3. 78
  4. 83

Click to Reveal Answer

A: 62

In what year does the IBM mainframe evolution (published in Arcati Mainframe Yearbook) timeline begin?

  1. 1948
  2. 1952
  3. 1955
  4. 1962

Click to Reveal Answer

B: 1952

Would a 36-year-old CICS COBOL test application designed to run on z/VSE be able to run on z/OS 2.5?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Click to Reveal Answer

A: Yes

In computer engineering, a jiffy is the length of one cycle of the computer's system clock (roughly 10 milliseconds)

One of the great benefits of being part of the global mainframe community is the decades of accumulated experience that are passed down in publications like the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook (as well as…ahem, Planet Mainframe).  While working in the world of Big Iron is not without its challenges, the enthusiasm and generosity of those working on the platform may be unrivaled in the world of IT. (Though we recognize that we may be biased here.)

In Eddols’ words:  “Clearly, working with mainframes is an interesting way to spend your day.”