Mainframes are King to Machines in the Cloud: IT Evolution

Back in the day. The Journey of a Technical Consultant

When I first started working in the world of Computers, Mainframes were King. The Mainframe I used was several miles away and I had a simple dumb terminal through which I coded, ran jobs and sent the output to the line printer. If I didn’t create a pile of music ruled continuous paper at least two inches thick, each day it felt like I hadn’t achieved anything.

Technology Improves

Time and technology moved on. The PC micro-computer, Windows, mice, modems, Ethernet Networks and little air-conditioned server rooms down the corridor were the norm. I also moved on too, from being a COBOL programmer and the daily grind of ascii codes, hex, binary and a single monochrome screen, to babysitting. Or Systems Admin, as it was better known. Throw in a bit an Operational Support, Hardware installs, Software support and Pre-sales Techno-speak, and I pretty much had all the bases covered.

Budgets are never big enough

Back then, IT budgets were always very tight, so we lived by the mantra of: “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. A line from a song by my favourite band sums up nicely how we kept things going: “…patches on the patches on my old blue jeans…”. Move on a few years and budgets are still very tight, but the world of Computers (or IT as it’s now known), has changed drastically.

So what’s new?

Over the years there have been many “revolutions” and “latest big things” that have come and gone. There are a few new ones, however, which have arrived and looked like they are here to stay: Cloud, DevOps and Automation. During my time, I’ve had to learn the meaning of many new terms and TLAs (three letter acronyms for those of you who never worked with IBM). Even today they still keep coming – SaaS, PaaS and IaaS to name a but a few.

Not as scary as it sounds

But what do all these things mean when it comes to keeping your business going as efficiently as possible? How on earth do you work out which ones you want or need, to be able to provide the appropriate resources to meet the demands of your business?

Well, however scary it may all sound, Cloud computing isn’t that far away from where I started. All of the processing is done somewhere else. Users (DevOps) sit in front of (relatively) dumb terminals and use automation to build and develop. Operations look after it all and you now don’t have to go through the pain of buying a brand new piece of hardware just for your development team to play with. To prepare for that inevitable software upgrade or patch, you can just create a new “machine” up in the Cloud. Find the right platform and partner to help you design, install and look after it and you’ve got your P, I and S covered from those snazzy new acronyms that everybody wants these days too.

Processes and People

But it’s not just the technology that has moved on, it’s the way we actually use it that is becoming more important. The increases in speed and capacity that we have seen mean that we can now do more with the resources that are available to us. However, unless we use them in the right way, we are never going to be able to take full advantage of what’s out there. Using resources in the right way means finding the right people with the right skills and the right way of thinking.

Life at Centiq

And this is why Centiq is such a good place to be. Not only do I get to be hands-on with all these new technologies and methodologies, but I get to be part of the leading edge of innovation in this new world. I get to help customers get the most of what they have and help steer them in the right direction in this continually evolving world of IT.

In some respects, it’s a long way from where I started but in others, it’s not so different. Oh, and for those of you that recognised the lyrics, it has been fun but I’m still waiting!