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Message from SHARE: Shaping the Direction of the Platform

By Warren Harper, Enterprise-Wide Program Manager

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." —African Proverb

Like many of you, I've invested a lot of my career in this industry. From its inception, one of the key purposes of SHARE was to influence the direction of the enterprise technology ecosystem. We found that by combining our voices, we got a little louder. Volunteering is a great way to add your voice and shape the direction of our platform.

But when you're first starting out in your career, getting involved can feel a little intimidating. You might see some very distinguished figures in volunteer positions and feel that you're too inexperienced to contribute. When I first started in the zNextGen project,  I was sometimes hesitant to speak up. However, once you get your feet wet you'll realize that your perspective as someone new to the business is just as important. This is why we do code reviews, and why it's always good to have someone else proofread your work — a fresh set of eyes can see things that those buried in the weeds cannot.

You'll also find the culture of the mainframe world is very receptive to new people and ideas. SHARE's history is rife with examples of collaboration leading to concrete results. For example, in the mid-1970s, security as we know it today on the mainframe was established thanks to a white paper from SHARE's security project, “SHARE VS/OS Security and Data Management Project — Goals for Data Security.” In response, IBM developed RACF.  Two competitive security managers, ACF2 and TopSecret, both now distributed by Broadcom, followed soon after.

Today, we're seeing SHARE continue to be a facilitator of innovation. The open source movement has made an enormous impact on IT everywhere, and the mainframe is no exception. Of course, we're no strangers to open source. SHARE has used the famous “Waterloo tape” and the “CBT Tape” to collaborate and share for decades. Open source and the mainframe is becoming a regular topic of discussion now — from Zowe to Jenkins to Kubernetes and everything in between. It's more important than ever to come together and figure out how we can use all the tools at our disposal to move the platform forward.

SHARE is uniquely positioned to be a focal point of change. Organizations now need their mainframe to be more than just a system of record — they need a system of insights. So don't be shy — get involved and help us make history! If you have questions or want to talk more about the SHARE volunteer experience, please reach out to me directly at warren.harper64@gmail.com.

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