Sunday, 29 January 2023

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2023 – user survey findings

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2023 is now available for download from – and it’s FREE. Each new Yearbook is always greeted with enthusiasm by mainframers everywhere because it is such a unique source of information. And each year, many people find the results of the user survey especially interesting.

This year, the results came from the 100 respondents who completed the survey between the 21 October 2022 and the 25 November 2022. Just over half (55 percent) were from North America. 15 percent were from the Asia/Pacific region, and another 15 percent of respondents were from Europe. 10 percent were from South America. And five percent were from the Middle East/Africa. The largest group of respondents were from companies with over 10,000 employees worldwide (31 percent). Just over a fifth (21 percent) had 200 to 1000 employees. And 16 percent of respondents were each from companies with under 200 staff, between a thousand and five thousand, and, lastly, between 5000 and 10,000 employees worldwide.

It was an interesting survey this year, seeing how various sites are adopting the new technologies – although Java has been around for 25 years – and how the world of the mainframe seems to be integrating with cloud computing in a hybrid environment. Clearly, working with mainframes is an interesting way to spend your day – particularly as they are able to reach out to the cloud, mobile devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and the way DevOps practices can speed up what was a very slow process of application development. CICS, IMS, and Db2 continue to have quarterly updates that add value to the products.

In terms of what’s new (or, perhaps more correctly, what appears on a lot of PowerPoint slides), the survey found that 56 percent of sites are already using Splunk or equivalent. And a further 12 percent said that they were planning to use it. The survey also found that 67 percent of sites were already using DevOps (up from 44 percent last year), with a further 13 percent planning to use it. And 62 percent of all respondents (up from 53 percent last year) said that they were already reusing APIs to speed up application development, with a further 19 percent of sites planning to reuse APIs. Blockchain has been in the news a lot, but doesn’t seem to be close to mainstream, yet. Seven percent of sites reported already using it (last year no-one did), and only seven percent are planning to use it. With Docker, we found that 20 percent of respondents were already using it (up from 17 percent last year) with 47 percent at the planning stage.

Zowe, the open-source way of accessing mainframes, was introduced in 2018. 38 percent of sites said that they are already using it (double last year’s figure of 19 percent), with a massive 31 percent of sites having plans to make use of it in the coming year. Open-source technology is now becoming commonplace on mainframes.

When it comes to Web-enabling subsystems, we found that 80 percent of organizations were Web-enabling CICS. 65 percent of sites are Web-enabling Db2. 45 percent of sites are Web-enabling IMS. 50 percent are Web-enabling WebSphere Application Server. We also found that 39 percent of sites already use Liberty (well up from 8 percent last year), with 15 percent planning to install it.

Mainframes in an organization are just one of the computing platforms people use (along with phones, tablets, laptops, Power systems, etc), and, for a long time, there has been an issue, at many sites, with mainframes being accepted in the enterprise. The reason suggested by 85 percent of sites was that the biggest obstacle was the difficulty in retaining the necessary skills. And this, perhaps, highlights the need for a product like Zowe. 55 percent of sites thought that the biggest obstacles to mainframe acceptance within the enterprise was that it’s too expensive (or appears to be). The figure was 90 percent last year. 50 percent thought the biggest obstacle was a cultural barrier between mainframe and other IT professionals (up from 40 percent last year). 30 percent felt concerns about future availability/support of mainframe apps was an obstacle. 25 percent of respondents thought that a barrier was the mainframe being too complex (or appearing to be too complex). And 10 percent of respondents didn’t think that there were any barriers to mainframe acceptance. Let’s hope that last figure rises in the future.

Reinforcing the value of the mainframe to organizations, the survey found that 94 percent of sites have seen some kind of increase in capacity, and 93 percent have seen an increase in technology costs, but only 77 percent of sites believe their people costs have increased! Interestingly, 67 percent of sites say that the bulk of their IT budget is spent on cloud, leaving 33 percent of sites where the majority of their expenditure is on the mainframe. We’ll track how those values change over the next few years.

But no organization is going to develop an asset unless they view it as having a future, and we all know the mindset that still exists about the mainframe, treating it as little more than your dad’s technology. Unfortunately, the survey found that 53 percent of sites viewed their mainframe as a legacy system. Worryingly, only 10 percent (down from last year’s figure of 17 percent) still viewed mainframes as strategic. 37 percent viewed mainframes as strategic and legacy!

When asked what, in their opinion, are the main benefits to their organization of the mainframe over other platforms, 85 percent of respondents highlighted the benefit of availability. 70 percent of respondents highlighted security. This figure is down from the 100 percent response last year, and yet breaches and ransomware still should be a major concern. 65 percent of respondents identified scalability, with 50 percent highlighting manageability as benefits.

This year’s survey found that the z15 is the most popular model (at 50 percent of sites). The newer z15 Model T02 was found at a quarter of the sites, as was the z14 Model ZR1. The older models (z13s, z13, z12BC, z12 EC, and z114) are still out there and still performing well. It must be noted, when looking at these statistics, that many sites had more than one model of mainframe installed. We were, unfortunately, unable to collect information for z16 usage. In terms of operating system, 40 percent of respondents were using z/OS Version 2.5 (a huge increase on last year’s figure of just seven percent). Another 40 percent of sites are using Version 2.4 (last year it was 57 percent). Lastly, 20 percent were using z/OS Version 2.3.

Looking at hybrid cloud computing, the survey found that 42 percent of respondents currently used their mainframe in a hybrid cloud environment (up from 21 percent last year). A further 16 percent think that they will run a hybrid cloud environment at some time in the future, with 11 percent planning to run a hybrid cloud environment soon. A further 42 percent don’t use hybrid cloud and don’t have any plans to do so. We asked whether respondents use Red Hat OpenShift and/or IBM Cloud Paks on their mainframe. Only 12 percent of sites said yes, with nearly a quarter suggesting that they have plans to do so. We also asked which cloud providers mainframe sites used. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the most popular at 35 percent, followed by Azure at 25 percent.

Linux is often in the news, so it was interesting to see what our respondents had to say about it. There are considerable cost and management benefits from consolidating distributed Linux workloads onto the mainframe. However, 61 percent of respondents weren’t interested in LinuxONE mainframes. Six percent of sites said they already had one, with 22 percent expecting to get one at some time in the future, and 11 percent expecting to get one in the next year. No sites in the survey said their primary operating system was Linux. Having said that, around a third (31 percent) of respondents said that they run Linux on IBM Z.

Security breaches and ransomware are becoming a major issue – with the average breach costing $4.35 million. Perhaps worryingly, 21 percent of respondents said that they weren’t worried about ransomware. No-one said they had a solution in place, although 79 percent were worried or very worried about it. So, still good news for criminal gangs and rogue nation state hackers.

Mainframes continue to offer a cost-effective, secure, and powerful platform for organizations with the necessary background and expertise in place to support it. It seems that non-mainframe IT staff and managers are not getting the opportunities to find out about the multitude of advantages that using a mainframe can bring to an organization – in terms of security, reliability, availability, flexibility, as well as understanding the true total cost of ownership figures for the platform. Perhaps Zowe will continue to help the mainframe to appear like any other server to a younger generation of programmers and managers.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2023 – available now


Every year, about this time, mainframe users are excited to get their hands on the latest edition of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook. What makes the Yearbook stand out is that it’s an excellent reference work for all IBM mainframe professionals – no matter how many years of experience they have.

The Yearbook provides a one-stop shop for everything a mainframer needs to know. For example, the mainframe evolution section includes a hardware timeline, and a graphic illustrating mainframe operating system evolution.

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. This year, a number of entries were updated by Robert S Hansel (RSH) of RSH Consulting. We’re very grateful for his contributions, and we welcome input from other readers.

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. Amongst the things it highlights are Enterprise Tech Journal, the TechChannel website, IBM Listservs, SHARE’s Five Minute Briefing from Database Trends and Applications, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn discussions; as well as user groups such as SHARE and IDUG. There’s also a short discussion about IBM Tech TV.

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, some organizations have disappeared from the list and some new ones have been added this year – indicating that this is still an exciting marketplace to be in.

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

  • The NeverEnding Story: Optimizing and Securing the Modern Mainframe
  • Bigger Together: How to Maximize Mainframe’s Value.

For many people, the highlight each year is the mainframe user survey. This illustrates just what’s been happening at users’ sites. It’s a good way for mainframers to compare what they are planning to do with what other sites have done. I will be looking at some of the survey highlights in a future blog.

The other great thing about the Yearbook – as far as many of the 21,000 people who download it are concerned – is that it is completely FREE.

It can only be free because some organizations have been prepared to sponsor it or advertise in it. This year’s sponsor are: Broadcom Mainframe Software Division, and Vertali. Our advertisers are: Action Software International, Advanced Software Products Group Inc (ASPG), Baer Consulting, DataKinetics, Enterprise Systems Associates, Inc (ESAi), Information Technology Company (ITC), Key Resources Inc, and Planet Mainframe.

The 2023 edition of the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook is now available here. As usual, if you don’t want to download everything at once, each section is available as a print-quality PDF file.


Sunday, 15 January 2023

Supply chain security threats

At one time, the only worry organizations had about their supply chain was a mixture of physical attacks, damage in transit, or the supplier going out of business. While those, and associated threats haven’t gone away, the focus now is on cyber threats because hackers are using ‘back doors’ in the digital supply chain to attack other companies.

Hackers are breaking into the servers of smaller supplier companies and using that as a route to access the larger organizations downstream that are receiving products from the smaller company. Clearly, this kind of attack takes place over an extended period of time and is quite sophisticated.

Part of the problem is that suppliers and businesses often work closely together, which means their computer networks are closely linked giving access to each other’s systems in order to share data as quickly as possible between the two (or more) organizations. And that’s why there was such a dramatic rise is supply chain attacks in 2022.

There are plenty of examples of these kinds of attack. I’m sure most people remember the SolarWinds attack in 2020, where the Sunburst back door was injected into the Orion IT update tool that was downloaded by thousands of customers. In 2021, Mimecast was attacked. Hackers compromised a security certificate used to authenticate Mimecast’s services on Microsoft 365 Exchange Web Services. Also in 2021, Alex Birsan, a security researcher accessed Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and Uber networks. He exploited dependencies that applications use to provide services to end-users. Using these dependencies, he sent counterfeit (but harmless) data packets to high-profile users.

As those examples show, supply chain attacks can be performed using different techniques. Hackers try to compromise software coming from an organization. They are looking to steal certificates that would otherwise vouch for a company’s products. They install malware on hardware devices that are then connected to their targets’ devices. And hackers may add malicious code to the firmware on devices.

Are organizations worried about their supply chains being attacked by hackers? The answer is seemingly not! The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre reports that the DCMS 2022 Security Breaches Survey found that as few as just over one in ten businesses review the risks posed by their immediate suppliers (13%), and the proportion for the wider supply chain is half that figure (7%).

So, what can you do about your supply chain security? Firstly, it’s important to recognize that it is not simply an IT issue. Everyone who is involved in the supply chain process needs to understand the importance of data security. All the usual security training – such as watching for phishing attacks, not opening untrusted PDFs, etc – needs to be refreshed. And, of course, it’s not just members of staff at your own company, but also people working for your organization’s suppliers that need training. In addition, it’s important that C-level staff recognize the importance and the immediacy of the problem, and buy-in to the idea of resolving it.

One problem many organizations experience is shadow IT. This isn’t a problem with mainframes, but often other departments may use cloud services that aren’t known to IT. The results of these cloud services can end up being routed into mainframes along with any malware that might be attached. This is more often a problem upstream with suppliers, and it is a way that suppliers’ IT systems can be hacked.

Using zero trust architecture is a great start (if sites aren’t doing so already). Basically, you assume that you are under attack and trust no-one. If any user is doing anything unusual, then an alert should be sent to the security team. If anyone is logging in from an unusual location (like a distant country), an alert should be sent. The security team needs to be able to lockout the user if necessary and quarantine any data or applications that have been accessed.

Network traffic needs to be monitored to see whether a surprising amount of data is being transferred at usually quiet times. This could be a sign that customer data has been copied and is being sent to the hackers for them to use or sell on.

Insider threats are as much a worry for supply chain attacks as they are for any other kind of data breach.

Make sure your data is being backed up and that backups are not being modified by the hackers. This is a common technique to stop organizations from restoring encrypted data from backups.

Keep a whitelist of applications that are allowed to run, and which ones are allowed to modify infrastructure-level files, eg parmlib. Hackers make changes to infrastructure, and this can often go unnoticed unless integrity monitoring software is installed and used on the mainframe.

Use security software to really lockdown access to sensitive data. Too often, when new people start working at an organization, they are given duplicate access to a colleague doing a similar job. As they move through the organization, additional security access levels are too often simply added on to what they have already. This can lead to some people having quite a range of access that they don’t need. This is a risk and needs to be reviewed.

It's possible to model the entire supply chain using digital twin software, which can then be used to simulate different risk scenarios to the supply chain, and these risks can be remediated.

Recent research shows that supply chain cyber attacks are on the increase, but too few organizations are seemingly yet aware of the issue and taking steps to reduce their risk of attack. If you’re one of those organizations, then 2023 is the year to take appropriate steps to ensure that your company is still in business in 2024!


Sunday, 8 January 2023

2022 at iTech-Ed Ltd

2022 was the year that we moved away from Covid restrictions and started to act the way we did in 2019. It was the year of the great resignation, when many people decided that they didn’t want to go back to their old job, and quite few decided that they didn’t want to work at all.

As usual at this time of year, I thought I’d take a look at the previous year, with the spotlight on what happened at iTech-Ed Ltd.

IBM Community Advocate badgeIn January, Trevor Eddolls was awarded the IBM Z Community Advocate – 2021 (Level 2) badge for actively contributing to the IBM Z and LinuxONE community. It seems that he is in good standing with his IBM Z and LinuxONE peers and he’s passionate about taking his advocacy to the next level. He has, they say, expert skills in IBM Z and LinuxONE and can be expected to regularly contribute technical knowledge to the community.

On 11 January, the Virtual CICS user group had a very interesting presentation from Wendell Lovewell, product manager and systems programmer for MacKinney Systems. He was discussing, “Taking the pain out of CICS application debugging”.

Also, January saw the publication of the always popular Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2022. You can download a copy here – it’s FREE. Last year’s edition was downloaded around 21,000 times during the course of the year, and Trevor is Editorial Director for this highly-respected annual source of mainframe information.

In addition, Trevor’s article, “Mainframe and IT 2021 Review, With a Look Toward 2022”, was published on the new TechChannel website.

IBM Community Advocate badge The exciting news in February was that Trevor Eddolls was recognized by IBM as a 2022 IBM Champion. IBM said: “On behalf of IBM, it is my great pleasure to recognize you as a returning IBM Champion in 2022. Congratulations! We would like to thank you for your continued leadership and contributions to the IBM technology community. This recognition is awarded based on your contributions for the 2021 calendar year.”

On 8 February, Dusty Rivers, Director, z Systems at Adaptigent, gave the Virtual IMS user group another interesting presentation entitled, “IMS as a client in the new world”.

Also in February, Trevor’s article, “Top Serverless Frameworks IT Pros Should Consider in 2022”, was published on the Toolbox website (now Spiceworks).

The Virtual CICS user group enjoyed a hugely interesting presentation, on 8 March, from Joe Winchester, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member, and Jeffin Siby, Lead developer on the Zowe Explorer for IBM CICS. They were discussing, “How Zowe makes the mainframe open, simple, and familiar”.

Also in March, Trevor’s article, “Get the New 2022 Arcati Mainframe Yearbook”, was published on the TechChannel website. And Trevor’s article, “Why the Future of Work Depends on PC Fleet Stability and Predictability”, was published on the Toolbox website (now Spiceworks). Lastly, Trevor’s article, “Connect me to the mainframe”, was published on the Planet Mainframe website.

On 12 April, the Virtual IMS user group enjoyed a very knowledgeable presentation from Loc Tran, Lead Software Developer at BMC Software. His presentation was entitled, “How to use IMS log records to investigate transaction response time”.

Also in April, Trevor’s articles, “Highlights From the 2022 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index” and “Can IMS Connect to the Outside World?” were published on the TechChannel website.

On 10 May, the Virtual CICS user group had an interesting presentation from Robert Barnes, CEO at Jazz Software. He was discussing, “CICS Web services – bridging two worlds”.

Also in May, Trevor’s article, “Mainframe Security: Are There More Gaps in Your Defenses Than You Thought?” was published on the TechChannel website.

IBM Community Advocate badge In June, Trevor Eddolls earned the IBM Z and LinuxONE Community Contributor – 2022 (Level 1) badge. He also earned the IBM Z and LinuxONE Community Advocate – 2022 (Level 2) badge. “The badge earner has expert skills in IBM zSystems and LinuxONE and can be expected to regularly contribute technical knowledge to the community.” And, he earned the IBM Z and LinuxONE Community Influencer – 2022 (Level 3) badge. He is described as “a thought leader and viewed as a technical expert”.

The Virtual IMS user group enjoyed another interesting presentation from Haley Fung, IBM Product Manager for IMS and Ansible for Z, and Ajay Jashnani, Senior Software Engineer at IBM on 14 June. They were discussing “Ansible and IMS: Part II – Getting started with the Ansible IMS collection”.

Also in June, Trevor’s article, “Why Git Is Valuable to the Mainframe” was published on the TechChannel website.

On 12 July, the Virtual CICS user group had a great presentation from Stewart Francis, Lead Software Engineer at IBM. He was discussing, “Developing and modernizing CICS applications with Ansible”.

Trevor’s article, “Modernization and the Mainframe as a Service” was published on the TechChannel website in July.

The 9 August saw a fact-filled meeting of the Virtual IMS user group, when James Martin, Senior zSolutions Advisor, System Z, at Rocket Software discussed “What’s New with IMS Performance Solution Pack”.

Also in August, Trevor’s article, “Why Ansible Is Emerging as a Top Automation Tool for Mainframes” was published on the TechChannel website. In addition, his article entitled “4 Reasons Why Remote PC Management is Critical for Hybrid Work Era” was published on the Spiceworks website.

On 13 September, the Virtual CICS user group enjoyed an interesting presentation from Russ Teubner, Distinguished Engineer (formerly CEO, HostBridge Technology), and Greg Smith, Software Engineer, Mainframe Software Division at Broadcom, who were discussing “Using Analytics and AI to Find and Fix Inefficient Patterns in CICS Integration”.

September also saw Trevor’s article, “The Costs of Data Breaches in 2022” be published on the TechChannel website.

The Virtual IMS user group, learned a lot about provisioning databases in a modern way on 11 October, when Radek Mrvec, Staff Software Engineer | Mainframe at Broadcom Software, presented.

Also in October, Trevor’s article, “Tell them about mainframes”, was published on the Planet Mainframe website. In addition, Trevor’s article, “Identifying Top Cloud Security Issues”, was published on the TechChannel website.

On 1 November, Trevor gave a presentation to the security stream at this year’s GSE conference. It was entitled “Ransomware, gaps in SMF records, and detection options”.

Also in November, Trevor’s article “Enable Rapid Ransomware Recovery With IM Software”, was published on the TechChannel website. In addition, his article “COBOL – past, present, and future” was published on the AIOps community website. Lastly, his article “Welcome to the Virtual Db2 user group” was published on the Planet Mainframe website.

There was another great presentation from Ezriel Gross, Principal Solutions Advisor at Rocket Software on 15 November to the Virtual CICS user group. He was discussing, “OMEGAMON for CICS on z/OS 5.6 and CICS Performance Analyzer for z/OS Next Release and Features”.

In December, Trevor’s article “How to Navigate Ransomware Attacks”, was published on the TechChannel website.

Also on 13 December, there was a very informative presentation to the Virtual IMS user group  from Joseph Leamon, IMS Software Engineer (UDB) at IBM and Mahmood Abuzaina, Software Engineer at IBM. They were discussing “Distributed access to IMS via Java”.

Trevor continued to blog regularly and publish articles. And he continued to tweet at @t_eddolls, @virtualims, and @virtualcics. He’s on Instagram at @t_eddolls/. And on Facebook you can find him at,, and And there are groups on LinkedIn for Virtual IMS ( and Virtual CICS (

Looking forward this year, the Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2023 will be published in January. The Virtual IMS and Virtual CICS user groups will continue to meet on alternative months throughout the year. In addition, there is a new Virtual Db2 user group, which has its first meeting in January. In addition, Trevor will continue blogging and writing articles.

Find out more about iTech-Ed here.