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Academic Mainframe Shutdown Proposed

By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing

All good things must come to an end. At least that's what they say. In the information technology world, the end usually comes more quickly than we think it should. But the march of technology is not abating and change is inevitable when using computers. One pending change is the eventual shutdown of the University IBM mainframe system.

The mainframe is currently shared between academic and administrative uses. Its administrative function will be replaced by a new Enterprise Information System (EIS) for which the acquisition process is currently underway. That process will lead to the replacement of the mainframe systems with a more contemporary technology base. Once the EIS implementation is complete, the IBM mainframe will be permanently shut down and de-installed. Obviously, at that point the mainframe would also cease to be available for academic use as well.

In order to have a supportable and defined transition of academic processing off of the IBM mainframe, it is proposed that we set a date of August 31, 2003 for the shutdown of Academic processing. There are definite advantages to deciding on a shutdown date:

  • setting such a date will prevent a haphazard transition at some point when it is decided that the mainframe is no longer needed for administrative work;
  • shutting down the mainframe will free up funding currently applied to mainframe software licenses for support of alternate research applications and platforms;
  • setting a shutdown date will allow ACS staff to plan for provision of support services to be sure that any data or programs can be migrated to an alternate processing platform;
  • selecting August 31 as the shutdown date corresponds with the software and support contract renewal date (and University fiscal year) and will result in the most savings to the University budget.

At this point, the August 31, 2003 shutdown date is only a proposal. After a suitable time period for comment, a decision will be made as to what an appropriate academic mainframe shutdown date will be. If the 2003 date is selected, that will be announced by January 21, 2002 so that plans can immediately begin to transition instructional and research activity off of the IBM mainframe. If you have questions or comments about such a transition, send them to Dr. Philip Baczewski (, Associate Director of Academic Computing.