Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Introduction to the New Mainframe

I started my career on mainframe in 1988 with an intensive 1-year course at IBM. The first 4 months we followed lots of introductory courses on z/OS, JCL, ISPF, CICS, DB2, CLIST, COBOL... you know the drill. The rest of the year was a mixture of courses and a practical training on site at a customer site. When the customer was satisfied, you could stay afterwards. As you can see : I'm still around. So training young people on mainframe is not that new. But I guess the need for new people on the mainframe is much more urgent now than it was back then in the eighties.
So there I was, after 4 months with a 'thorough' knowledge of z/OS, just to find out they'd dropped me in a VM/VSE site. We planned some courses, but in the mean time I had to pick up on VM, VSE, DL/I, Rexx as fast as I could. And I think that's where the big difference lies with now. Where to get your information, introductory publications on all those items. Internet was something of the future. Redbooks were much more scarce. So I ploughed through any IBM documentation I could find, mainly command references and user's guides. And we all know how well these were written at the time.
So I'm glad that IBM is putting great effort into making good introductory publications to the mainframe. It started out with z/OS basics in 2005, which has been updated regularly since then. It serves as a manual for students at universities all over the world. Now it's called 'Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics'. And IBM is adding other redbooks in this series. So far they have :
I'm particulary pleased to see the last one being added to the list. I surely would've liked to have that one, back then in 1988. Since then I worked mainly in a z/OS environment, but lately I've been working in a VM/VSE environment again on a 1 day per week basis. So I'm definitely going to read this introduction to catch up on VSE. I wonder if they will also bring out an interactive version of this redbook. I just found out there's an interactive version of the z/OS Basics : 'z/OS Basics : an interactive module'. I found the link on the Community Page of the mainframe charter site.

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