October 08, 2010, 1:02 PM — IBM keeps trying to make the mainframe hep. In the latest humiliation, it coerced geeks too young to know better into a coding and systems-management contest with the endlessly updated but still perceptibly ancient and creaky IBM mainframe.
They're still out there; they still do a good job. So does the Chicago El. Neither is the place you'd go if you were looking for the leading edge of change. Even if cloud computing architectural diagrams do look an awful lot like mainframe-computing models, it's not worth the effort to mate a 30-year-old, centralized, vertically scaled computing platform with systems designed to run on sophisticated distributed networks of commodity level x86-based hardware.
Five winners get a 16GB Apple iPad, and probably an explanation of why it's not phatter than the Wicked- z/OS, The top three get a trip to the IBM mainframe lab in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (Worst. Road. Trip. Everrrrrrr.)
That's not to say IBM should drop the mainframe, or stop supporting it for customers who still rely on it.
Just quit torturing us by putting trucker hats and droopy pants on grandpa and telling us he can rock it.