Mainframe Madness in US Government

February 28, 2010

Fascinating article “US Secret Service Shackled by Ancient Mainframes.” The search engine optimization company known as IBM has been crowing about the value of mainframes. In fact, a recent sale was to a bank in Africa. Yep, that’s a niche.

Despite IBM’s efforts to convince me that I need a mainframe in my office, I have had enough experience with these beasties to say, “No thanks.” IBM is deep into search engine optimization, and I know that SEO wizards understand computers.

The most interesting point in the write up was the use of the phrase “shackled by ancient mainframes.” Mainframes are not ancient; they are – er, ahem – geriatric.

The second interesting comment in the write up was in my opinion:

… a Secret Service memo (dated Oct. 16, 2009) obtained by ABC News revealed that 42 mission-oriented applications ran on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating. In addition, networks, data systems, applications, and IT security did “not meet” current operational requirements, while the IT systems lacked appropriate bandwidth to run multiple applications to “effectively support” USSS offices and operational missions around the world.

IBM Federal Systems has a big operation in between Germantown and Rockville. Why can’t the IBM folks get these Secret Service systems working? I think I know. The real wizards at IBM are in SEO or selling consulting services.

As a result, the mainframe units may be starved for talent.

Stephen E Arnold, February 27, 2010

No one paid me to write this. With IBM revamping the GSA systems, I will report my writing for free to someone at IBM Federal Systems. I wonder if an SEO expert is on duty now.


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