IBM Partners With Syracuse University to Tap Next-Gen Mainframe Workers

IBM has announced a partnership with Syracuse University to help prepare a new generation of workers who are proficient in mainframe technologies.

ORLANDO, Fla. €” IBM (NYSE: IBM) continues to find ways to keep the mainframe relevant, this time the systems giant has announced a partnership with Syracuse University to help college students build smarter computing skills to manage both traditional and new systems in large global enterprises.

IBM announced its partnership with the university at the IBM Innovate 2012 conference here.

IBM has championed the mainframe for decades and continues to tweak its mainframe offerings to deliver new functionality to keep the systems in command of new workloads and new challenges enterprises face today. For instance, IBM delivered the zEnterprise system, which is an integrated environment that can effectively consolidate islands of computing, reducing complexity, improving reliability and performance.

The zEnterprise extends the strengths and capabilities of the mainframe€”such as security, fault tolerance, efficiency, virtualization and dynamic resource allocation€”to other systems and workloads running on AIX on Power7, Linux on System x and Microsoft Windows. IBM said more than 120 new clients worldwide that have chosen the IBM mainframe platform as a backbone of their IT infrastructure since the IBM zEnterprise system was introduced in July 2010. The zEnterprise is a workload-optimized, multi-architecture system capable of hosting many workloads integrated together, and efficiently managed as a single entity.

IBM also said as business value creation increasingly shifts to software, the software skills needed to tackle disruptive technologies like cloud and mobile, particularly for enterprise-class, large industrial systems, have become critical. Lack of employee skills in software technologies is cited as the top barrier preventing organizations from leveraging software for a competitive advantage, according to initial findings in IBM€™s "Institute for Business Value 2012 Global Study on Software Delivery".

Syracuse University€™s Global Enterprise Technology (GET) curriculum is an interdisciplinary program focused on preparing students for successful careers in large-scale, technology-driven global operating environments. A consortium of technology partners, including IBM, provides technology platforms and multiple systems experience for the GET students. IBM€™s Rational Developer for System z (RDz) and z Enterprise Systems help students build applications on multiple systems platforms, including z/OS, AIX, Linux and Windows.

€œOur students need to build relevant skills to address the sheer growth of computing and big data,€ said David Dischiave, assistant professor and the director of the graduate Information Management Program in the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University, in a statement. €œThese courses and the IBM technology platform help prepare students to build large global data centers, allow them to work across multiple systems, and ultimately gain employment in large global enterprises.€

€œThis is part of our ongoing effort to build ecosystems around the mainframe,€ said Charles Chu, director of product management and strategy at IBM Rational. €œWe€™re funding access to software, hardware and more for the University of Syracuse, and we€™re adding the mainframe to our toolset.

Nearly 500 students have participated in the Global Enterprise Technology minor since its inception, IBM said. Syracuse University€™s iSchool is the No. 1 school for information systems study, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, and serves as a model for other iSchools that are continuing to emerge around the globe, IBM added.

According to IBM's 2012 Global CEO Study, including input from more than 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries worldwide, a majority (71 percent) of global CEOs regard technology as the No. 1 factor to impact an organization€™s future over the next three years €“ considered to be an even bigger change agent than shifting economic and market conditions.

Syracuse University is a participant in IBM€™s Academic Initiative and was a top-ranked competitor in IBM€™s 2011 Master the Mainframe competition. As today's mainframes grow in popularity and require a new generation of mainframe experts, the contest is designed to equip students with basic skills to make them more competitive in the enterprise computing industry job market. IBM's Academic Initiative offers a wide range of technology education benefits to meet the goals of colleges and universities. Over 6,000 universities and 30,000 faculty members worldwide have joined IBM€™s Academic Initiative over the past five years. Since 2003, through its University Relations and Academic Initiative, more than 1.5 million students across 125 universities have been trained on IBM and open-source technologies.