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Mighty Mainframe Vol. 9 – Keeping Your Mainframe Mighty: Tips from a Veteran Mainframer

27. 03. 2024

Your monthly dose of mainframe. Conferences, customer success stories and overcoming challenges.

Dear fellow mainframer,


I spent three days in Dresden. It was my first visit to the baroque city, but I was not immersed in the splendour of the magnificent Frauenkirche or the opulence of the fabulous Semper Opera House. Instead, I spent those three days in the conference room at the GSE Core Modernization Conference.


Image by Pozhidaeva on Pixabay

I have a soft spot for customer stories, and the experiences of Armin Kramer from Datev and Alexander Pawlik from HUK-Coburg were truly inspiring. However, it was Roland Scholz’s story from Zurich Insurance that caught my attention. It was a typical mainframe story from the last decade. His narrative traced the journey of their mainframe – first, they invested considerable effort in replacing a complex application, followed by even more work to seamlessly integrate a new application into their existing IT landscape. It didn’t make sense. As a result, the FRIDGE department was set up to deal with the management of obsolete technologies. Although the initial challenges seemed insurmountable, their “dirty dozen” team eventually achieved remarkable success. Finally, they evolved into a mainframe centre of excellence responsible for modernization and cloud readiness. I hope more mainframe companies will go straight to the final step!

I was impressed with Rocket Software. The recent acquisitions (which are still ongoing) have resulted in an impressive portfolio of technologies and tools for hybrid data, cloud and mainframe security. While the company may face some challenges in consolidating different technologies, I was really impressed with the breadth and depth of their portfolio.

DevOps on z/OS is not just a matter of trend


As far as mainframe modernization is concerned, I have to say that I am very happy with the way our CROZ team is implementing it. We have successfully supported a large mainframe customer in modernizing their DevOps pipeline and achieved significant success. Our experts Ivo Štampalija and Bruno Kurevija explained everything in a video, which you can find here. Štampalija also had the pleasure of attending the recent “DevOps for Z” workshop in Frankfurt and shared his thoughts on the importance of DevOps on the mainframe and his opinion on the IBM Z DevOps Acceleration Program. As a mainframe industry insider, he firmly believes that this is not just another trend.
IBM z DevOps Acceleration Program


From Mainframe Fanboy to Versatile Guitarist: An Inside Look at Our Speakers

If you’ve been following us for a while, you already know about the mightiest conference coming up this spring. At the conference, we will be talking about mainframe modernization and the skills gap, because we think these are the hottest topics in the mainframe community. Last time we talked about our keynote speaker, Rosalind Radcliffe, and this time I’d like to introduce you to our next two speakers at the conference: Armin Kramer from DATEV and Thomas Liechti from UBS.

Register here for the Mighty Mainframe Conference →


Armin Kramer a “mainframe fanboy”, has more than 30 years of experience, with his roots in assembler and COBOL, and has also worked with Oracle, Java and SAS. When asked what the participants should take away from his presentation, he replied:

“The mainframe is far from being dead. Even if we plan for a future without it, it will be a hard road to travel. And in the meantime, we should do everything we can to keep the mainframe up to date and enable our colleagues to migrate to the new world if necessary.”

Thomas Liechti, on the other hand, is not a “fanboy” himself, but could have fans, because the mainframe is not his only passion. When he’s not playing guitar with his hard rock cover band, Thomas Liechti is on the road in various roles. A director at UBS, he is also a Distinguished Engineer, COBOL developer and Chapter Lead, as well as a teacher for the COBOL apprentice training program IT-Way-Up. This versatile guitarist said he would like to call Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking together and ask them to tell him about the universal laws of physics, why the speed of light is the limit and why time can be bent. If that sounds like an interesting thought, check out the Mighty Mainframe Conference program to see his session.

Industry Insights

IBM recently released V1.1 of WatsonX Code Assistant for Z. It brings Validation Assistant and Refactoring Assistant in VS Code with Additional Transform Capabilities. Here’s my take on the initial announcement and you can stay tuned for more information and hands-on experience from our end.

If you missed the initial buzz about WatsonX Code Assistant for Z (WCA4Z), here’s an excellent opportunity to catch up: in this episode of Chris Sayles’ ZDevOps Talk, Nicolas Dangeville and Rich Larin are the special guests as they lead a discussion about GenerativeAI and IBM’s new WatsonX code assistant. This episode was a real blast and I particularly like how this episode excellently explains the positioning of WC4Z, and what the tool can and cannot do. There are no technical details, but it effectively positions what the tool is capable of.

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