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Modernizing the Mainframe: Dusty Rivers
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By: Crysta Anderson
Originally published: August 28, 2012
Even as cloud computing and mobile devices gain steam, “The mainframe is still a viable part of the business,” explains IBM Champion Dusty Rivers. Over his 35 year career, Dusty has moved from being a DBA with a telco company to serving as Principal Technical Architect with GT Software.
Along the way, Dusty has worked with companies across finance, government, manufacturing, and insurance to help modernize their infrastructures. The goal is to leverage new technologies while ensuring that data is still protected. “Most companies I deal with bet their business on the mainframe, and the mainframe is their system of record,” Dusty explained. But many of the old applications are still viable, even if the mainframe has moved beyond the old green screens and clunky terminals stashed in closets. The key is helping companies modernize their mainframe to take advantage of new technologies and capabilities.
The mainframe still has a huge advantage, Dusty said, noting that he often advises clients, “Never trust a machine you can carry.” Indeed, many companies resist putting sensitive data on laptops or mobile devices, particularly those in finance or government.
However, granting cloud access via mobile devices can be a game-changer for some industries. As mobile devices become more pervasive, they can become a competitive advantage. (As we spoke, Dusty had four mobile devices sitting on his desk.)
For example, insurance companies can benefit greatly when they can pull up relevant details for discounting and coverage options while sitting in front of a customer. Similarly, many manufacturers want real-time access to information that helps them in the field or in front of a machine.
While modernizing, the key is avoiding downtime and resisting excessive complexity that may cause outages. This is Dusty’s specialty, and he shares his lessons throughout the year at a variety of IBM IMS events, from Information On Demand 2012 to SHARE. He also presents several webinars. Recently, he shared, “5 Success Paths for Integrating IMS and New Technologies,” which offered some specific actions to help companies modernize. It’s now available on demand.
Look for Dusty in the IMS area at various IBM events, including Information On Demand 2012 and the November IBM IMS User Group in Europe. You can also connect with him via LinkedIn or the GT Software website.
And be sure to listen to our interview.
Podcast link here.