The Modern Mainframe

SHAREAs CEO of Rocket Software I constantly think about modernization, which is why I’m in Silicon Valley this week for the SHARE conference – hosted by the world’s oldest enterprise IT user group. If that sounds like a fundamental disconnect, let me explain:

I can’t remember a time when SHARE wasn’t on my radar. When I was first starting out as a mainframe programmer, the organization was a major hub of expertise for all things related to big iron. By the time I co-founded Rocket in 1990, SHARE had already been around for 35 years! Since then we’ve attended dozens of their bi-annual conferences, and our engineers have led more than 100 technical sessions on enterprise-related topics. Several Rocketeers have even served as the elected leaders of SHARE over the years.

So what does a user group founded in 1955 have to do with modernization? In a word, everything.

When most people think about modernization, what comes to mind is staying current with the latest versions of software. But it’s so much more than that. Modernization is about helping organizations shape their futures. It includes training to ensure that the next generation of talent is prepared to step in. It includes the availability of modern languages and tools so that as many people as possible can take advantage of the power of mainframes. It includes platform extension to cover machine learning, predictive analytics, blockchain, and other technologies that didn’t even exist when mainframes were invented.

That’s why SHARE is so important. Its core mission is to enable its members and partners to continually shape the future of the enterprise technology ecosystem. This week’s conference is covering a lot of issues related to modernization in the mainframe environment. I’m proud that Rocket engineers will lead nine sessions on topics including data virtualization and integration of the Python and R programming languages into mainframe environments, and will also be available on the expo floor to demonstrate Rocket’s mainframe tools and solutions.

What you won’t find at SHARE in San Jose is a lot of looking backwards. Mainframes have been around for a long time, but there are so many new innovations that the conference is all about looking forward. Or as I like to think about it, modernizing.