The problem with sports cars and old school mainframe mentality


In the application economy does security help or hinder your business? Find out what mainframe tools CA Technologies has in store for you.

LittleBlogAuthorGraphic  David Hodgson, September 11, 2014

Comparing a Corvette to a mainframe and worrying about what kind of “oil” to put in it seems to me a bit old school. This perspective epitomizes the “mainframe is special” mentality that will make the platform as irrelevant to mainstream IT as a sports car is to transportation for any sort of productive purpose.

Who needs an expensive sports car?

Of course a Corvette needs special expensive grade oil, and special expensive custom tires, along with the likelihood of maintenance costs being above average. All of this leads to the thinking that it may be unaffordable to maintain such a prized possession.

Thankfully, today’s System z is not such a rarefied, exotic breed. And both CA Technologies and IBM are committed to making the platform as reliable and scalable as any new shiny objects are.

The only way a System z is like a sports car is in the level of performance where, it will outperform other platforms for suitable tasks. However, I prefer the workhorse analogy.

Not only is the mainframe the best platform for the job, it’s solid and dependable, highly reliable and affordable at scale on a TCO, per transaction cost basis – not like a sports car at all.

System z in the application economy

At CA Technologies, normalizing the mainframe is one of our strategic priorities. Although we do like to herald the mainframes strengths we also like to minimize the differences of the platform.

We aim to enable a single converged IT workforce that manages areas across the enterprise, ending the days of a polarized mainframe versus distributed camps. We build solutions along with customers to meet their current real needs with an emphasis on lowering costs and delivering real ROI.

If a vendor tells you they have some especially expensive, supposedly best-in-class software that you can’t live without, take another hard look at that vendor. Did they ask you what your real “go-forwards” requirements are?

Enterprise application development for the real world

So, let’s take the example of testing tools for the mainframe. Sure they are still needed to maintain legacy applications, but close to zero people are building applications on the mainframe today.

Those that do are building Java applications in line with IBM’s strategy of tuning the machine to outperform all others at running Java.

Take a look at the “Corvette” tools someone might try to sell you and see if they will help you debug Java. And of course if you are buying tools why would you want any that felt any different from the tools you use to debug Java elsewhere?

CA Technologies offers an Application Development strategy that rises above testing tools for legacy applications. We know your company is busy building mobile apps that will connect back to Websphere, CICS and the legacy applications on your mainframe. We are building a solution suite that addresses the DevOps challenges of the rapid-build cycles required of IT in the application economy.

If you’d like to test drive what we have to offer in this space please consider joining us at CA World, November 9-12 in Las Vegas.

Oh, and if you want to save money by replacing those expensive tools you bought for yesterday’s strategy then give us a call anytime and we will help you out.

Image credit: Tom Hiltz 

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