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What Do Mainframes, Mainframe Programmers and CrossFit Have in Common?

Your first reaction to the suggestion that mainframe and CrossFit have something in common may be a bit skeptical. I would have had the same reaction, until a recent “WOD” (workout of the day).

During the workout, I was chatting with a fellow CrossFit member who asked me where I had been lately; and I let her know I was at SHARE in Seattle (Seattle is also home to the first CrossFit gym) at a mainframe show; she had a background in IT but still commented “wow, are mainframes still around?”

I launched into my elevator pitch, “more than half of the Fortune 500 companies use a mainframe to run their core business… that billions of dollars’ worth of ATM transactions… trillions of dollars’ worth of credit card transactions run on mainframes every year.” However, clearing up the misconception that the mainframe isn’t right where it is… at the center of the modern enterprise, it is not what got her attention.

She and I are both closer to retirement than we are to starting our careers, and another common assumption about mainframe is that all mainframers are in the same position. When I let my workout buddy know that I noticed that many of the attendees at SHARE were younger than I expected – she was quite surprised. I told her that in speaking with many newbie mainframers, I learned that younger workers are increasingly attracted to master the skills needed to develop applications and become systems programmers for mainframes. Mainframes are not only attracting millennials in college courses, they are showing up in new pop-culture shows like Scorpion.

We both looked around the gym, and saw the same thing, members of all different ages were doing the same thing; varied functional movements at a high intensity; kind of like a mainframe computer. Mainframe computers and CrossFit both are “ready for anything,”

For CrossFit, it is about bridging the gap between softness and strength. Therefore, what CrossFit and mainframe computers have in common is that they universally bridge the gap between old and young.

At Syncsort, our approach to mainframe is about bridging the gap between Big Iron and new applications & technologies by building strong, lean muscle between them.

With a long history as a leader in mainframe software, Syncsort has built on our success at bridging this gap:

  • By adding our new ZPSaver Suite, which offloads CPU intensive tasks to specialty zIIP engines
  • With DL/2, which allows customers to migrate data from IBM IMS to DB2/z without changing existing applications
  • By recently acquiring William Data Systems innovative portfolio of network monitoring, management and security tools that allow organizations to run mainframe networks efficiently and securely.

Our goal is to keep the modern mainframe fit to so that “seasoned” and “newbie” mainframers alike can continue to help their organizations stay lean, mean and competitive.


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