Though I had heard others speak about the mainframe community in terms of the various organizations such as WAVV, Guide, SHARE and the various other regional user groups, I had never really considered myself a member until SHARE in Anaheim where I was lucky enough to be invited to participate again as a volunteer Destination z exhibitor. At that point, seeing the names and faces that I had met over the years made me realize what a close-knit group we were and are, and how much I miss being a part of the club!
Don’t get me wrong, I no longer miss working for IBM, but I do miss the people that make up the z community, including the mainframe users, the IBMers who work on the platform in various capacities, the IBM business partners who I had the honor and privilege to work with and know, the folks who published the magazines on mainframe topics and so on. I especially miss working with the students who were constantly amazed at what I termed as “IT’s Best-Kept Secret.”
If you are reading this, then you are a part of a special group of people who for the last 50 years have worked hard to make the modern mainframe an important part of our lives.
Since it’s happy hour somewhere in the world, I will raise my glass to you, to bid the Mainframe a happy 50th, and in the vein of one of my favorite Star Trek heroes, “live long and prosper,” z community.
Marc Smith spent 28 of 33 years at IBM as a member of the mainframe System z community. He began his mainframe career working with VM/HPO and VM/ESA development before moving on to planning and managing VM Early Support Programs (ESPs), marketing z/ESA and z/VM until moving into marketing and channel enablement positions within the System z hardware family. He is one of the team members who brought Destination z into existence and managed the online community until his retirement from IBM in 2012.