A Mythical Phoenix: Mainframe’s Evolution

Mainframes are the backbone of many systems across the globe. Nearly everyone comes into contact with the mainframe at some point, whether depositing or withdrawing money from their bank or booking an airplane ticket. Reg Harbeck, SHARE member and chief strategist at Mainframe Analytics Ltd., says mainframes are similar to the mythical phoenix. “An interesting thing about the phoenix is that, in its inevitable rising after it burns into ashes, it shows that it has a deeper reality that cannot be overcome by being ‘sunsetted’ in its symbolism of the setting and rising sun. This is similar to a favorite mainframe customer quote of mine about their mainframe systems: ‘We started sunsetting this thing so long ago that the sun’s coming back up again,” he goes on to explain, “And just like how the sun never actually goes away when it sets, the phoenix returns from its ashes as the same bird it already was. 

Similar to the IBM System/360-descended mainframe, now 55 years old, and which has often been called dead, it continues to be the computational foundation of the world economy, while our awareness of it and willingness to build new business activities on it is what actually comes and goes.”

Read more about the continued legacy and evolution of the mainframe