IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 15

operating system components,
so detailed knowledge of the
operating system's processing is
also required to accomplish the
desired result. And, as if these
shortcomings are not enough,
the exit code usually runs in an
authorized state such that a logic
or coding error can cause major
system or application failures
and the loss of customer data.
It's possible the exit code could
bypass the customer's security
policy or open a hole that could
be exploited to compromise or
destroy customer data.

Current Workflow
Is Outdated
Since enterprises have been
writing and maintaining exits
for decades, one might argue
that they can just keep doing
that in the future. Although the
mainframe Assembler language
in which the exit code is written
is basically the same as it was,
the number of programmers
proficient in it has dropped to a
pittance. With the availability of
more modern languages like Java*
and C/C++, few computer science
students are taught mainframe
Assembler language. The lack
of Assembler language skills
makes it difficult for enterprises to
continue to maintain and enhance
their exit code.
However, it's not the worst
of the problems. The operating
system has become increasingly
complex over the decades. This
makes it very difficult to learn
all of the internals that must be
understood to maintain dozens
of different exit routines that
an enterprise might have. Even
understanding what an exit
routine is trying to accomplish
by reading the code can be
challenging. Yet failure to fully
understand the interaction
between the operating system
and the exit code can lead to
unpleasant consequences.

IBM, in conjunction with industry and academia,
is trying to mitigate this problem through the IBM
Academic Initiative; however, it takes many years
of hands-on experience to understand the complex
environments that today's z/OS manages. Without
sufficient skill and resources, some enterprises are
reduced to simply verifying that their exit code does
not "blow up" when they migrate to a new level of
the operating system.
Another important element that has changed is
the age of the most skilled systems programmers.
These are the people who have grown up with
the mainframe and learned each new element
of complexity as it was introduced. Many have
already retired from the mainframe environment
and many more are poised to join them. Their skill
and experience cannot be easily replaced, yet their
skills and experience are required to maintain the
efficient and secure running of the systems that
are the backbone of the largest commercial and
government enterprises.

E

function provided by an ISV
are fairly obvious. It removes
the concern about diminishing
Assembler language skills.
More important, it allows an
enterprise to specify how it
wants the system to behave
while not requiring knowledge
of how the operating system
works internally. It expedites
the migration to new versions
and releases of z/OS because
the ISV addresses migration
issues before the new release is
even generally available. It also
makes new operating system
capabilities available sooner
because the ISVs, working with
pre-release information provided
to them by IBM, can often deliver
exploitation on day one.

Rather than continuing in the current
mode, enterprises using the mainframe
must take the approach they already
have with application software-buy
rather than build.

A New Approach Is Needed
Rather than continuing in the current mode,
enterprises using the mainframe must take the
approach they already have with application
software-buy rather than build. As with so many
things in our complex world, it's best to leave things
to the experts. In this case, the experts are the ISVs.
They are skilled to maintain proper functionality
and to exploit new capabilities as the operating
system evolves with versions and releases. Also,
they are highly motivated to optimize the human
and machine interactions within their scope.
This is not a new concept. ISVs have been
providing tools that replace what customers did
themselves since very early in the history of the
platform. The individual customizations that
mainframe users create for themselves in the form
of installation exit code are one of the last frontiers.
The advantages of eliminating a customized
exit code and replacing it with fully supported

Risk to the enterprise is reduced
because the potentially dangerous
interactions with the operating
system are implemented by
experts with a much deeper
understanding of the operating
system than typical systems
programmers. An enterprise can
move forward, confident it will
not be thwarted by a lack of skills
to maintain the exit code, and it
won't be exposed to the risk of
moving forward without proper
remediation of the exit code.
In time, the idea of enterprises
customizing their systems with
their own exit codes will be a
memory of the past, as are so
many things in the mainframe's
half-century history.

ibmsystemsmag.com JULY/AUGUST 2014 // 15


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IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014

Table of Contents
Editor's Desk: Protecting information
IBM Perspective: Sunny outlook on the mainframe
Techbits: Watson: your personal shopper
Infographic: How the mainframe changed our world
Partner PoV: ISVs can help mainframe customers keep up with a rapidly evolving environment
Focus on Storage: IBM FlashSystem addresses storage and application performance issues
Currents: As data consumption expands, information protection policies must be put in place
Case Study: Credit Where Credit's Due: Isracard Group devises a novel way to verify its system integrity before disaster occurs
Cover Story: A Secure Fortress: The mainframe delivers the reliability, safety and cost-effectiveness your IT shop needs
Feature: Be Proactive in Risk Management: Protecting data is crucial as your business connects in ever-increasing ways along the access superhighway
Feature: Being Risk-Aware: New IBM and Ponemon study examines the economics of IT risk and reputation
Administrator: Active/Active Sites helps distribute workloads during outages
Tech Corner: A point-in-time tool, Runtime Diagnostics can find issues in a pinch
Solutions: Reflection 2014; CA Chorus; VFTP 3.0; Lifecycle Manager; STEPLIB-Rx; Ivory VisualConnect; Mainframe Abend Assist; Linux Enterprise Server Starter System for System z
Stop Run: Together, IBM executives Pat Toole Jr. and Pat Toole St. bring more than half a century of dedication to the company
Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Mainframe
2014 Mainframe Solutions Edition Product Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Intro
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Cover1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Cover2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 1
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Table of Contents
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 5
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Editor's Desk: Protecting information
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 7
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - IBM Perspective: Sunny outlook on the mainframe
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 9
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Techbits: Watson: your personal shopper
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 11
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Infographic: How the mainframe changed our world
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 13
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Partner PoV: ISVs can help mainframe customers keep up with a rapidly evolving environment
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 15
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Focus on Storage: IBM FlashSystem addresses storage and application performance issues
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 17
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 18
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 19
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Currents: As data consumption expands, information protection policies must be put in place
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 21
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 22
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 23
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Case Study: Credit Where Credit's Due: Isracard Group devises a novel way to verify its system integrity before disaster occurs
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 25
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 26
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 27
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 28
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 29
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Cover Story: A Secure Fortress: The mainframe delivers the reliability, safety and cost-effectiveness your IT shop needs
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 31
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 32
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 33
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Feature: Be Proactive in Risk Management: Protecting data is crucial as your business connects in ever-increasing ways along the access superhighway
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 35
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 36
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 37
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Feature: Being Risk-Aware: New IBM and Ponemon study examines the economics of IT risk and reputation
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 39
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 40
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 41
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 42
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 43
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Administrator: Active/Active Sites helps distribute workloads during outages
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 45
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 46
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 47
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Tech Corner: A point-in-time tool, Runtime Diagnostics can find issues in a pinch
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 49
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 50
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 51
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Solutions: Reflection 2014; CA Chorus; VFTP 3.0; Lifecycle Manager; STEPLIB-Rx; Ivory VisualConnect; Mainframe Abend Assist; Linux Enterprise Server Starter System for System z
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 53
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 54
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 55
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Stop Run: Together, IBM executives Pat Toole Jr. and Pat Toole St. bring more than half a century of dedication to the company
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Cover3
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Cover4
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Mainframe
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - 2014 Mainframe Solutions Edition Product Index
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - SE2
IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - July/August 2014 - SE3
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