Andreas Siegling: Design and Installation of a Mainframe Emulator

Researcher: Andreas Siegling

Start date: 01.10.2017


Mainframes are computers, which particularly qualify for efficient and reliable data processing. They are deployed especially in financial institutes, insurance companies and enterprises, in which a lot of transactions are handled. Mainframes excel in their high data throughput and their reliability, which is achieved among others by redundant hardware. At the moment there is a shortage of professionals, which can administrate and program mainframes, since research and teaching in the area of mainframes decreased in the last decades. One of the reasons for this is the fact that universities often don’t have the means to operate a mainframe. With the System z Development and Test Environment (zD&T) IBM develops an application, which emulates the IBM’s Mainframe architecture on a x86-computer. With this one can run IBM’s mainframe operating system z/OS on a x86-computer. Thus zD&T represents an alternative to a physical mainframe to do research and teaching in the environment of mainframes. As part of this thesis zD&T is installed on the chair’s servers and the process of the installation is documented. Subsequently a course is designed, in which initially the installation and configuration of zD&T and z/OS is shown, and afterwards different basic software components of mainframe programming are introduced.

Daniel Mulzer: Interaction between Mainframe Applications and Mobile Devices – An Online Course

Researcher: Daniel Mulzer

Start date: 15.02.2018


Most people still have prejudices that mainframes are “dinosaurs”, “obsolete technologies” or”becoming extinct”. But these are just myths, as millions of transactions are still being carried outon mainframes in the banking, insurance and airline sectors every day. Even today, mostapplications running on Mainframes are programmed in Cobol.

Now, the s390 platform is officially part of the Linux kernel and as result Linux distributions aresupported natively. In addition, the Java platform is officially supported and the JavaVM ismodified to ensure the full hardware support of the applications. Although the mainframearchitecture has been supporting current technologies for many years, the market still lacks youngtalent.

For attracting young talent, the topicality of the mainframe technologies must be explained andillustrated. As smartphones are constant and essential companions in daily life nowadays foreveryone it is interesting to know what happens behind the scenes. When using an app on asmartphone, e.g. flight reservation or a bank transfer, the data is most likely processed by amainframe or even a COBOL program in the background. But how do smartphones and legacyapplications interact with each other?

In my master’s thesis, the possibility of connecting smartphone apps to Cobol applications will beresearched and prototypically implemented. The results will be used for an online course to attractstudent interest in the enterprise computing space.