Industry retirees leave mainframe computers behind

Old equipment poses staffing challenge

While many organizations continue to rely on mainframe computers, the employees who know how to program and operate them are retiring at a rapid rate, according to a report in BusinessWeek. Meanwhile, the younger incoming employees haven’t worked with the technology much, or at all..

As a result, companies such as like IBM and CA Technologies are providing training on the mainframes and offer programs designed to make the seemingly outdated technology more appealing to a younger generation, BusinessWeek reported.

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IBM has offered training to institutions and launched a competition named Master the Mainframe to get younger people working with the old computers. CA Technologies replaced its decades-old Disk Operating System screen to appeal to people who have grown up on the graphically rich Web and Apple computers, according to the report.

In recent years, the number of mainframe computers decreased significantly as better computer systems have developed, but mainframe computers still are deep in many companies' infrastructures. Although young people want new mobile devices, the mainframes are important, and companies are keeping mainframe experts on board longer, the report states.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Fri, Sep 10, 2010 Texas

Replacements for mainframes are nothing more than the latest fad to spend money on. Real companies know that the mainframe is still top dog. Like the first poster said, a cloud would choke on the data processed each day. There are also a lot more mainframes still out there than many would like to think. In my past, I had a web server running on a city government's mainframe long before they became popular. Nobody would use it, because they wanted to build their own fiefdom and control the budget.

Sun, Aug 29, 2010 Mainframes RULE

Well, mainframes will ALWAYS BE HERE in one form or another. The "cloud" is nothing but a different kind of mainframe. NOTHING compares to the computational power, period. Servers CHOKE on the data that our mainframes handle with ease.


In this day and age of high technology, people would be shocked if they really knew how many old mainframes are still cranking away is some in both the government and commercial sector. This is due in some respects because it is too painful or expensive to redesign or implement a new system to replace legacy systems that seem to be able to keep doing the original job they were designed for.

Wed, Aug 4, 2010 fritz

When I worked at Bendix Industrial control one of the techs had removed a discontinued Bendix mainframe from the customers basement and carried it home on a flatbed truck. he installed it in his entire basement of his house by Racine Wi. Bendix upgraded their computer systems all the time because they were a progressive company back then. When another customer of Bendix had some old data they had to recover Bendix didnt keep any old computer equipment. That customer hired the tech to recover their data and they were happy to find one of those old systems still running. I enjoyed working with that tech and often laughed when I saw his big red button on his white shirt that said "Don't Panic" . that button defused many a irate customer sitting there with a dead Bendix mainframs way back when

Wed, Aug 4, 2010 Mainframe Dinosaur

After all the publicity about how poor the mainframes are, did you really expect us to take the mainframes with us when you push out the door?

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