Mississippi's Information Systems Department Replaces Mainframe

Jul 23, 2001

Mississippi Employment Security Commission

State LogoMississippi Employment Security Commission

Mississippi's Information Systems Department Replaces Mainframe

June 2001
Contact: Shelley Powers, Editor, at (601) 961-7400

Taking up less space but handling more information, the new agency mainframe, which was installed in May by the Information Systems Department (ISD), is benefiting the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (MESC) in several way, including saving money.

Lead Systems Specialist Roger Weill said that the new mainframe, an Amdahl Omniflex 1025, was needed because of the upgrade to the operating system, OS/390 Version 2.10, being installed on the agency's mainframe.

And A & S Director Flip Phillips said that, as a results of switching to the new mainframe, the agency will save $223,000 annually in maintenance charges.

The installation of the new mainframe took two days. But, Weill said, because the new units are about one-tenth the size of the Amdahl 5995 mainframe installed in 1998, the process was less involved than the 5995's installation.

"The new mainframe is about the size of two side-by-side refrigerators, where the other filled an entire room," Weill said.

Weill said that, even though the new mainframe is smaller and operates with the same processing speed as the previous mainframe, it boasts more memory and more current technology.

Those involved in the installation of the new mainframe were Weill, John Bowden, Merrill Merkle and Michael Box, all of ISD, and Walt Brister and Bobby Martin, both of Amdahl.

"They did such a good job that the switch to the new mainframe was seamless. Everything powered up and was fine," said Phillips. "They covered the five P's in the preparation process: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance."

Phillips said that the ISD staff, as a whole, is proficient in keeping up with advancing technology, even when that technology means more work for them.

"We don't realize how good a staff we really have," Phillips said. "When technology makes life easier for you and me, it makes life worse for them."

Along with the new mainframe, the agency acquired new Direct Access Storage Devices (DASD), which are comparable in function to a PC's hard drive, though their total capacity is much greater.

"With the new DASD system, information is automatically backed up on duplicate DASD volumes, reducing the chance of losing data due to device failures," Weill said. "One thing I find interesting about the DASD is that it uses fiber optic cables to communicate with the CPU instead of copper cables. Fiber optic cables are faster so the response time and performance should be improved."

Weill said the new mainframe is "operating excellently" and could serve the agency through the move of the State Office into its new building within the next two years.

"This new mainframe has plenty of capacity," Weill said. "We should have it for several years."