Mainframes Back in Spotlight Due to COVID-19

by | May 8, 2020

Over 30 million Americans have already filed for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and legacy government systems are struggling to keep up with the staggering increase in demand. These mainframe systems rely on the programming language COBOL, and programmers with a background in the language are being called on to ease the burden.

However, COBOL programmers are not as common as they once were. Many who are knowledgeable in the language have retired and younger generations often see mainframes as legacy systems, and thus COBOL as a legacy language.

“If you go back 2 years, COBOL programmers were being paid less than Java programmers so if you’re coming out of school you say let’s go for the modern language rather than a legacy language,” said president of GT Software Stephen Hassett, in a recent SD Times article.

“However, that gap has narrowed,” he added, and the current rise in demand may lead to an increase in programmers focusing on COBOL in the future.

Mainframes have been the stable and efficient workhorse in numerous industries for decades, and that’s unlikely to change. Given that the majority of government and financial services institutions still use mainframes, as do 71% of Fortune 500 companies, organizations are looking to maintain and modernize these systems, not replace them.

“The knee-jerk reaction is let’s get rid of the old systems, but then you see that they were built a certain way over the last 40-50 years and you can’t just replace all of that application code that was built to fit specific processes and regulatory environments, so you have to go back to saying let’s build new capabilities around the outside of the existing core systems,” Hassett said.

Companies with mainframes are in search of integration solutions that can retain the stability of the mainframe, while at the same time, modernize it for today’s newer applications and environments.

GT Software’s Ivory Suite can reduce labor requirements for new mainframe integrations 80-90%. With the ability to rapidly create inbound calls, as well as call out to modern applications from legacy systems. Ivory combines drag and drop capabilities with a no-code platform to allow organizations to maximize the value of their existing resources.

Click here to read the full article on SD Times.