Welcome to the Cloud Wars Minute — your daily cloud news and commentary show. Each episode provides insights and perspectives around the “reimagination machine” that is the cloud.
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In today’s Cloud Wars Minute, I delve into the enduring influence of IBM mainframes, exploring why top banks still rely on a system developed over 60 years ago.
00:15 — Why do 45 of the top 50 banks rely on a system developed over 60 years ago? The journey began with the creation of COBOL in the late 1950s. Ever since, IBM mainframes running COBOL have been at the heart of banking operations. Fast forward to today, and these banking giants still depend on COBOL. Why? Reliability, security, and processing power.
01:13 — Now, don’t think these banks are just running on outdated computers. IBM has been consistent in releasing new mainframe models. Many financial institutions have projects to gradually move away from COBOL and to other languages like Java. It’s necessary because the pool of COBOL developers gets smaller and smaller.
02:03 — watsonx bridges the gap between robust COBOL-based systems and modern artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. By leveraging IBM’s latest mainframe technology, banks can infuse AI to enhance customer service, improve security, and increase efficiency, all while maintaining their legacy systems.
02:52 — Judging from where these financial institutions are in the very slow move to full cloud adoption, I don’t think we will see IBM abandoning this large sector of their business in the near future. While it will gradually get phased out, I think it still has a few years left in it.