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Through a Storied Past, IBM Z Remains Mission-Critical Technology

Saghi Amirsoleymani

February 27, 2024

Mainframe technology has long been the foundation for so much of what makes our world work. It’s a technology that dates as far back as the 1950s and still powers many aspects of daily life—from swiping a credit card at the grocery store or logging in to view an account statement with your bank. And now, as more businesses are pushing to take advantage of the newest IT infrastructure technologies, systems like IBM Z are evolving and modernizing, too.

Regardless of emerging technology, the mainframe, particularly IBM Z, is not going anywhere. Mainframes are deeply ingrained into some of the most important pieces of business operations and in many cases remain the best, most secure, place to keep certain sets of data. With that said, it’s no surprise that even as we march into the future, led by technologies like AI, ML, or increasingly powerful analytics, IBM Z still has a place in the market—with far more room to innovate than one might expect.

IBM Z and an Innovation-driven Future

While the mainframe has been around for decades and has remained a steady and reliable IT infrastructure for businesses worldwide, there have been a great deal of changes too. The emergence of new infrastructure, like cloud computing, has forced businesses that rely on the mainframe for mission-critical operations to reevaluate where they store and analyze data. Now, more hybrid cloud strategies have begun to take hold, meaning the mainframe is no longer the single source of data management in an organization. Increasingly, companies are embracing a hybrid cloud approach, so they can make the most out of the benefits of the mainframe and the cloud.

Similarly, in the last few years we’ve seen the continued rise of open-source software, delivering a host of benefits and advantages for users. Open source has also become increasingly popular with the younger generation of talent when it comes to application development. That momentum has slowly been finding its way into the mainframe. While these systems are typically locked up tight as a means of ensuring security, open-source solutions have become more ingrained into the development of applications that run in a mainframe environment.

A New Generation of Mainframers Emerges on IBM Z

There’s undoubtedly been a great deal of innovation happening on mainframe systems like IBM Z—but even still, challenges remain. As a new generation of IT professionals enters the workforce, the mainframe skills that are needed to support IBM Z are becoming less and less common. The IT workforce of today has come into the industry having spent much of their time learning with open-source tools and expecting to work with all the latest technology—so seeing an opportunity to work with a system that has existed for decades doesn’t always leap out as the most appealing option. But in spite of that perception, mainframe systems are some of the most innovative pieces of technology. All those new, exciting technologies have their place in systems like IBM Z, tapping into the full potential of an organization’s data and opening opportunities to make an immediate impact with AI, ML, and other innovative tools.

The reality is that modernizing mainframe systems, like IBM Z, is crucial for businesses to tap into emerging talent. It's part of what led the team at Rocket Software to launch the Z Center of Excellence, to help address these shifts in knowledge and get people of all generations excited about the mainframe. Rocket Software has long had a strong partnership with IBM, and our experience with IBM Z stretches back over three decades. And now, through the Z Center of Excellence, Rocket Software is working with partners, customers, and others in need of support, sharing expertise and insights into how to effectively navigate any mainframe modernization journey.

Learn more about the importance of IBM Z and Rocket Software’s Z Center of Excellence.