I’m reliably informed that the 2021 edition of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook has now been published. This fascinating publication is completely free and can be downloaded from the Arcati website. It’s interesting that there are still some mainframers who haven’t come across this publication, even though many mainframers look out for it each year in January, and it does get downloaded over 21,000 times each year.

2020 has been such a strange year and mainframers have been working incredibly hard to ensure their companies stay in business and employees are able to work from home at least part of the time. As a consequence there hasn’t been a lot of time to catch up with colleagues at other sites to find out what technologies are up and coming, what ideas they think might make life easier in the future, or what technologies they are beginning to kick into the long grass in favour of something new. That’s where the Yearbook really scores. It’s 170 pages long, with useful information for both new and more experienced mainframers.

Mainframe User Survey

For many people, the highlight each year is the mainframe user survey. This illustrates what’s been happening at users’ sites. It’s a good way for mainframers to compare what they’re planning to do with what other sites have done.

This year, the results came from the 100 respondents who completed the survey on the Arcati Web site between November 1, 2020 and November 27, 2020. Just under half (45%) were from North America. 20% were from Europe and another 20% were from the Asia/Pacific region. 10% were from the Middle East/Africa and 5% were from South America.

The largest group of respondents were from companies with over 10,000 employees worldwide (40%). Almost a third (30%) had 1,001-5,000 staff. 15% were companies with under 200 staff, and another 15% had staff sizes of 201-1,000 people. No respondents, this year, had 5,001-10,000 staff.

It was an interesting survey this year to see how various sites are adopting the new technologies that seem to come out every year and how the world of the mainframe seems to be integrating with the other IT platforms used by most organizations. Clearly, working with mainframes is an interesting way to spend your day—particularly as they’re able to reach out to mobile devices and the cloud, and, with DevOps, they can speed up what was a very slow process of application development. CICS and IMS continue to have quarterly updates that add value to the product.

Mainframe Strategy Section

The mainframe strategy section contains articles by industry gurus and vendors on topics such as:

  • Test Automation: The Key to Increasing Velocity, Quality and Efficiency
  • Relationship Advice For You and Your Mainframe
  • Mainframe, Cloud and the Post-Pandemic IT Landscape

The vendor directory section contains an up-to-date list of vendors, consultants and service providers working in the z/OS environment. There’s a summary of the products they supply and contact information. As usual, there are a number of new organizations in the list this year—indicating that this is still an exciting marketplace to be in.

Resource Section

One section provides a guide to sources of information for IBM mainframers. This includes information on newsletters, magazines, user groups, blogs, mainframe-related apps and social networking information resources for the z/OS environment. Among the things it highlights are Enterprise Tech Journal, the new TechChannel website, IBM Listservs, SHARE’s Five Minute Briefing from Data Center, Facebook pages and LinkedIn discussions; as well as user groups such as SHARE and IDUG. There’s also a short discussion about mainframe social media and where to find the latest CICS and IMS blogs and articles.

In addition, there’s the glossary of terminology section explaining what all those acronyms stand for, in a way that means you can understand them. Amongst the terms that have been added this year are: Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), DataOps, Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

The mainframe evolution section provides a mainframe hardware timeline from 1952 to 2020, as well as a diagram showing mainframe OS development.

The no-charge Arcati Mainframe Yearbook has been the de facto reference work for IT professionals working with z/OS (and its forerunner) systems since 2005. It provides a one-stop shop for everything a mainframer needs to know. Definitely worth taking a look.

Originally published on Tech Channel.