“Mainframe for All” highlighted at SHARE Atlanta 2016

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SHARE Atlanta Rocket BoothLast week in Atlanta, GA USA, another successful SHARE conference concluded with 1,133 attendees gaining new insights from hundreds of vendors and technical sessions. As a contributing sponsor to SHARE, Rocket Software had the pleasure of meeting dozens of customers, partners, and attendees in the exhibit hall to answer questions and showcase Rocket Software products and solutions for the mainframe. In addition to the exhibit hall, I’m excited that Rocket hosted nine technical sessions, including a real-life experience from a long time Rocket customer.

A major theme at SHARE continues to be how to identify and bridge the mainframe talent gap. In fact. I’m not at all surprised by the results of the 2015 survey, conducted by both SHARE and IBM Systems Magazine: This survey found that 49% of CIOs and IT Directors are “very concerned” and 44% are “somewhat concerned” about this growing skills gap as more professionals head for the leisurely life of retirement. Almost half of these respondents identified “finding qualified personnel with the appropriate skills” as the biggest hurdle to solving the skills shortage.

There are several initiatives underway across the industry to help address this skills gap. Most of these efforts focus on attracting and training new and younger talent and bringing them into the mainframe world. However, I’m most enthusiastic about another method, which is to open the mainframe to more professionals who are already successful programmers and developers. This “mainframe for all” approach can significantly shorten the learning curve by taking advantage of existing skills.

One of Rocket Software’s primary goals is to help enterprises solve the mainframe skills gap with this “Mainframe for all” approach. Rocket helps to address “mainframe for all” via data virtualization, cloud, and Open Source languages and tools.

  • Data Virtualization gives developers with no mainframe experience familiar interfaces to leverage access and utilize mainframe data, without ever having to move the data off the mainframe. No complex “Extract”, “Transform”, and “Load” is required. Bryan Smith, Rocket CTO hosted a session called “Mainframe Data Virtualization on z Systems: Moving from Systems of Records to Systems of Insight.”
  • Cloud can offer mainframe users a flexible, efficient, and cost-effective data storage alternative. Rocket Engineering managers, Janet Sun and Kevin Shaw hosted a session called, “Doing More for Less with Cloud Storage”, which discussed various types of cloud storage, the types of enterprise data that are suited to the cloud, and the tools you can use to leverage cloud storage on the mainframe today. Topics included DR, archiving, tape data, public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.
  • Open Source languages and tools increase the open the path to z/OS by enabling developers to use popular and familiar open source languages, development tools, and utilities. These FREE languages and tools are available for download with free community-forum based support – and for enterprises that require only supported software on their mission-critical mainframe systems, Rocket offers a paid support option that provides 24×7 rapid response support world-wide. Another advantage to Rocket paid support is that users have a vehicle to influence the Open Source roadmap.

In addition to these sessions geared towards “Mainframe for All”, Rocket hosted several other sessions centering on data and catalog protection, DB2, and security. Rocket also hosted a very well attended reception on Tuesday evening. I was really excited to hear that over 100 members of the mainframe community came in for some food, drink, and relaxed informal discussions. And of course, the exhibit hall had its “share” of heavy traffic.

SHARE Atlanta

The next SHARE is scheduled for March 5-10, 2017 in San Jose, CA, USA, where I look forward to seeing the continuing evolution of the mainframe community and technology.

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