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  1. #1
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    Unanswered: mainframe vs. LUW DBA

    I know similar questions were asked before but will ask again to get opinion from other people.


    For those who used to be mainframe DBA and are now LUW DBA, would you consider going back to mainframe?

    Also, how's the job market for mainframe vs. LUW DBAs?

  2. #2
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    Most of the mainframe DBA jobs are for production support of existing applications and DB2 databases, or just minor enhancements. New development for OLTP and Business Intelligence applications is more often done on DB2 LUW. But if you are not interested in database design and application development, then there will be opportunities in DB2 z/OS due to the number of skilled mainframe DBA's who are retiring (although some of this work is definitely going offshore).

    I started out as a DB2 mainframe DBA n 1987 and later became an IBM employee doing DB2 consulting and teaching. I now (no longer with IBM) work almost exclusively with DB2 LUW and don’t think it is likely that I would go back to DB2 z/OS.
    M. A. Feldman
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for z/OS and OS/390

  3. #3
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    Thanks.

    During my very brief time as a LUW DBA, I don't recall our main DBA's doing any database design. Most of it, if not all, was done by S1.

    If companies outsource support of their existing databases to IBM and you're a DBA working for IBM supporting these databases, then I think you don't get to do any design, LUW or z/OS (even though design is mentioned in the job desc). Hopefully, they get to do enough performance monitoring/tuning.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by db2girl View Post
    Thanks.

    During my very brief time as a LUW DBA, I don't recall our main DBA's doing any database design. Most of it, if not all, was done by S1.

    If companies outsource support of their existing databases to IBM and you're a DBA working for IBM supporting these databases, then I think you don't get to do any design, LUW or z/OS (even though design is mentioned in the job desc). Hopefully, they get to do enough performance monitoring/tuning.
    In addition to doing consulting and teaching when I worked for IBM, I later worked in the IBM IGS Strategic Outsourcing group (not sure what it is called today). In the outsourcing group, only production support is performed. When a company is outsourced, and their development DBA's and production DBA's are combined into one team, then the team has be split since IBM outsourcing will only be performing the production support (not design). Production support obviously does include migration of new systems and changes into production. If IBM does development DBA work, that is usually under a different contract and different IBM organization. However, many companies that are not outsourced do have their development DBA team and production DBA team combined, so a DBA can do both activities in many cases.
    M. A. Feldman
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for z/OS and OS/390

  5. #5
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    Are you with IBM, db2girl? I was told that IBM outsourced their DB2 DBAs on z/OS to Brazil. Is that true?
    DB2 9.5/9.7 on Unix/AIX 6.1/Linux

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkhamDBA View Post
    Are you with IBM, db2girl? I was told that IBM outsourced their DB2 DBAs on z/OS to Brazil. Is that true?
    I believe that db2girl works in DB2 Product Support, not IBM Global Services. But I can confirm what you said, that a lot of DB2 outsourced production support (not all of it) for a particular client company is being moved (or has been moved) to places such as Brazil or other South American locations. I don't believe this is limited to DB2 z/OS.
    M. A. Feldman
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for z/OS and OS/390

  7. #7
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    I work for a major bank and had an opportunity to choose between LUW and zOS. Another option was to work on both platforms but I tried it for a year and we all realized (inlc. my manager) that this is impossible. So I decided – zOS. Why?

    - there is lots of afterhours/eves/weekend work on LUW
    - bad planning on LUW when you are suddenly asked to install/to work “tonight”;
    - on zOS we do development only. No production support. Our production support is done by another team.
    - better pay – it is hard to find a DB2 DBA on zOS these days. Most of them already have well-paid jobs and do not want to change;
    - if you compare the number of positions for LUW and zOS, yes, there is a lot more for LUW, but with less pay and many more candidates for each position;
    - I was told in our bank most of the data is still on z/OS;
    - many DBAs on zOS will retire soon (when there is a lot of young DBAs on LUW and more coming) so we will be in demand

    So I am the youngest on the team of DBAs on z/OS and one of the oldest on LUW. Which one do you think is better?
    Last edited by MarkhamDBA; 09-20-11 at 09:48.
    DB2 9.5/9.7 on Unix/AIX 6.1/Linux

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by db2girl View Post
    Thanks.

    During my very brief time as a LUW DBA, I don't recall our main DBA's doing any database design. Most of it, if not all, was done by S1.

    If companies outsource support of their existing databases to IBM and you're a DBA working for IBM supporting these databases, then I think you don't get to do any design, LUW or z/OS (even though design is mentioned in the job desc). Hopefully, they get to do enough performance monitoring/tuning.
    I have never done design - nor on LUW, neither on z/OS. There are architects for this work. I think if you work for a smaller company then you have to work as an architect, DBA and do prod. support, and may be more.
    DB2 9.5/9.7 on Unix/AIX 6.1/Linux

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus_A View Post
    In addition to doing consulting and teaching when I worked for IBM, I later worked in the IBM IGS Strategic Outsourcing group (not sure what it is called today). In the outsourcing group, only production support is performed. When a company is outsourced, and their development DBA's and production DBA's are combined into one team, then the team has be split since IBM outsourcing will only be performing the production support (not design). Production support obviously does include migration of new systems and changes into production. If IBM does development DBA work, that is usually under a different contract and different IBM organization. However, many companies that are not outsourced do have their development DBA team and production DBA team combined, so a DBA can do both activities in many cases.

    I think it's still called Strategic Outsourcing.

    When companies outsource their production database support to IBM, does IBM get full control of their environment or they still have to work with the company (ie. planning migration, db changes...?)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus_A View Post
    But I can confirm what you said, that a lot of DB2 outsourced production support (not all of it) for a particular client company is being moved (or has been moved) to places such as Brazil or other South American locations. I don't believe this is limited to DB2 z/OS.

    Does this mean the Strategic Outsourcing group in North America will slowly disappear?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkhamDBA View Post
    Are you with IBM, db2girl?
    Marcus_A answered it for me.


    Quote Originally Posted by MarkhamDBA View Post
    I was told that IBM outsourced their DB2 DBAs on z/OS to Brazil. Is that true?
    I have no idea. Thanks to Marcus_A for answering it.

    Give me more to think about... before making any move.



    Quote Originally Posted by MarkhamDBA View Post
    I work for a major bank and had an opportunity to choose between LUW and zOS. Another option was to work on both platforms but I tried it for a year and we all realized (inlc. my manager) that this is impossible. So I decided – zOS. Why?

    - there is lots of afterhours/eves/weekend work on LUW
    - bad planning on LUW when you are suddenly asked to install/to work “tonight”;
    - on zOS we do development only. No production support. Our production support is done by another team.
    - better pay – it is hard to find a DB2 DBA on zOS these days. Most of them already have well-paid jobs and do not want to change;
    - if you compare the number of positions for LUW and zOS, yes, there is a lot more for LUW, but with less pay and many more candidates for each position;
    - I was told in our bank most of the data is still on z/OS;
    - many DBAs on zOS will retire soon (when there is a lot of young DBAs on LUW and more coming) so we will be in demand

    So I am the youngers on the team of DBAs on z/OS and one of the oldest on LUW. Which one do you think is better?
    Personally I am sticking to z/OS.

    Agree with you on all points, but not sure about pay. Have to trust you.


    I would prefer to do both - LUW (AIX or Linux) and zOS, if I had a choice. This will allow me to learn zOS again and not forget LUW.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by db2girl View Post
    Does this mean the Strategic Outsourcing group in North America will slowly disappear?
    They are not moving all the jobs, and there is usually at least one North American DBA per customer to help communcate and coordinate things. This has been going on for quite a while.
    M. A. Feldman
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for z/OS and OS/390

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by db2girl View Post
    I think it's still called Strategic Outsourcing.

    When companies outsource their production database support to IBM, does IBM get full control of their environment or they still have to work with the company (ie. planning migration, db changes...?)
    IBM gets control of the production environment, but they have to work with the customer when the customer wants to migrate something from development to production, and also when there are DB2 upgrades, etc. On the z/OS side, the IBM production support people also have sysadm control of development DB2 subsystems due to the nature of the beast, and may also have more of a role in running development databases, at least as sysadm. For the z/OS system programmers, etc, the IBM Outsourcing team runs all mainframe systems, regardless of whether they are test or production. IBM usually hires all the customer employees that get outsourced, so at least for a few years, everyone is working with many of the same people as before.

    For DB2 z/OS (or any database) if you work for a company in the financial services industry, there may be less of a chance that they will outsource all DBA jobs offshore or to non-citizens on-shore, due to security issues.

    One thing to consider, even for US jobs, is that the outsourcing people do not make as much money as IBM consultants in the same band. However, there are advantages to working in outsourcing, such as usually being able to work remotely where ever you want, and very little (if any) travel. IBM consultants have to do significant traveling.
    M. A. Feldman
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
    IBM Certified DBA on DB2 for z/OS and OS/390

  14. #14
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    Thanks a lot for the info!

  15. #15
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    MarkhamDBA, Do you work in Markham or Scarborough?

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