SHARE Phoenix 2019 | Compuware
March 19, 2019 Workforce

SHAREing the Love for Mainframes: Thoughts on SHARE Phoenix 2019

Overview: Couldn’t make it to SHARE Phoenix 2019? Find out what happened here.


Mainframes have been around since 1930, if you count the Harvard Mark I. Still, many would say that the first mainframe was the IBM automatic digital computer in 1944. It was over a decade later that SHARE, the first enterprise IT user group, started with its first user group in Los Angeles in 1955. Now 64 years later, SHARE is still going strong in 2019 with attendees who represent major enterprises around the world. The love for mainframes is still vibrant and strong.

The zNextGen Era

Mainframe technology has constantly evolved across the generations of professionals who have stewarded the platform, from the generation who carried a toolkit into the computer room—then a space large enough to house a 747—to the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who carried the platform forward into the 21st century. Now SHARE is celebrating the generational shift to what it calls zNextGen, the new group of fast-track mainframe professionals gradually taking ownership of the platform and industry.

SHARE Phoenix 2019 | Justin Bastin | Compuware

SHARE President Justin Bastin, the organization’s first president to come out of the zNextGen community, kicks off the conference.

Through their attendance and participation, this rapidly growing group of young people promises a bright future for a robust platform, as was evinced by the lively group attending the zNextGen kickoff session where Reg Harbeck discussed why the mainframe has survived—it’s still the key to business success for many companies.

Just as vendors like Compuware are committed to modernizing mainframe culture, processes and tools to ensure zNextGen is equipped to manage and advance this powerful platform in a digital economy, SHARE has been rapidly modernizing its organization and its event to address the needs and preferences of this vibrant group of attendees. In Phoenix this year, the event program offered a variety of intro topics—including debugging, ALC, IMS and JCL—for newbies as well as sessions aimed at helping mentors make the mainframe “millennial friendly.”

New Areas of Importance

SHARE is broaching other important topics as well. This year, a series of events called “Women in IT” addressed the increasing number of women attracted not just to IT but to mainframe IT in particular. Where women were once few in number at this event—and in this industry—this year’s SHARE welcomed a large number, many in their 20s and 30s, and all active participants in making SHARE and the mainframe great.

Compuware software developer Megan Wenzke participated in the Women in IT sessions at SHARE Phoenix 2019.

Of course, similar to the last SHARE conference, DevOps was also a hot topic running across several tracks. With a generation that isn’t used to the age-old silos that separated Dev and Ops, it’s likely new mainframers will accelerate the industry’s progress toward DevOps success.

Deep Technical Roots Remain

Even amidst these important new-era sessions, SHARE is keeping its roots in technical knowledge-sharing. Sessions like the one Keith Sisson, Director of Technology and Customer Experience at Compuware, presented at SHARE St. Louis with Jason Shewbert, Lead Mainframe Systems Programming Analyst at UPS, are of critical importance to the mainframe community.

Keith and Jason were awarded “Best of the Best User Session” for their presentation, “Receive Order Overview and User Experiences,” an overview of RECEIVE ORDER, and the steps necessary to set it up. Keith’s team built the Compuware RECEIVE ORDER server, and he shared what they learned from the process. Jason and his team are early adopters of RECEIVE ORDER, and he shared lessons he learned setting up and using RECEIVE ORDER for IBM and vendors.

Jason Shewbert (center left) and Keith Sisson (far right) receive their award for “Best of the Best User Session” at SHARE Phoenix 2019.

Join Us Next Time

A great location for the first SHARE conference of 2019, the vibrant hub that downtown Phoenix has become compelled groups of SHARE attendees, volunteers and vendors to get out and experience the nightlife the city has to offer—an appropriate setting for everyone to continue their discussions and networking that make this in-person conference still a critical part of a mainframer’s calendar. If you missed this one, the next SHARE conference will be in August in Pittsburgh