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University Technology Services


IT Services for Faculty/Staff

Mainframe Decommission FAQs

What is the USC mainframe computer?

University of South Carolina has used a mainframe computer for 40+ years.  Before the PC revolution, the mainframe computer was one of the only computing platforms available to the university community. At various times the mainframe was used for administrative, academic, research, and personal computing.

The USC mainframe houses programming technologies such as IMS, COBOL, Decision Analyzer, VM/CMS, SAS, and others. It supports many technical system functions such as FTP and printing services. Looking at the bigger picture, the mainframe computer also includes external storage media such as tapes and the devices that read and write to these media.

Why are we decommissioning the mainframe?

In recent years, the university technology investment has moved away from the mainframe. It is no longer a cost-efficient platform to operate in terms of software licensing and staffing. The hardware and storage media are years beyond their supportable lifecycle.

A long succession of significant re-implementation projects have started to replace the functionality that the mainframe has hosted. The OneCarolina project work formally began in 2010. The student portion of the implementation was completed in mid-2013. Preparation for the Human Resources and Payroll phase, PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM), is currently underway.

Are there target date(s)?

The legacy mainframe is scheduled to be retired after the PeopleSoft HCM (Human Capital Management) project is fully and successfully completed. Data stored using IMS, CMS, or TSO on the mainframe will be impacted by this retirement.

How will this affect me?

If you are, or have been, a data steward of a system that is currently operating (or operated) on the mainframe, you will be involved in the re-implementation or data migration process. If you are currently consuming any end-user services such as mainframe web pages, data storage, reporting, printing services or scanning services you may be affected. Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can work with you to identify alternatives.

How do I know if I have been a mainframe user?

You can verify if you have a mainframe access id using VIP https://vip.sc.edu/. Click Login and select the option to login using your USC ID/PIN Login. Once logged in, select Technology, Mainframe Computer Account Administration (IMS). Choose the option to Find out if you already have a user ID and click submit.

For assistance please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can work with you to figure this out.

If you used the mainframe at one time and you think you might have old data that you want to retrieve, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so we can work with you to transfer the data to a different environment.

If I had an account on the mainframe, when would that have been?

The mainframe has been used by members of the university community since it went online in the 1970s.

Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can work with you to determine if you have data stored on the mainframe.

Where can I get help to transition my work off the mainframe?

UTS is working on strategies, instructions and FAQ’s to assist. If you don’t find what you need or you are ready before communications are released, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket to request someone from the mainframe group to contact you.

I have university data on the mainframe that I’m required to keep. What do I do?

If the information was created by you or someone in your department and the technical knowledge is available to move the information from the mainframe to another environment, please go ahead and move the data. If assistance is needed, or if the data is enterprise data, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can help you determine the best solution for you data.

If I know I have data stored on the mainframe that I want to keep, how can I take possession of it?

If the information was created by you or someone in your department and the technical knowledge is available to move the information from the mainframe to another environment, please go ahead and move the data. If assistance is needed, or if the data is enterprise data, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can help you determine the best solution for your data.

What is the cost to retrieve my old data?
  • Customers will be required to fund non-enterprise system solutions. If a business function is not part of a future enterprise system business process, the impacted customers will be assisted with conversion and/or gaining access to their data. 
  • UTS can provide data structure and format, storage requirements, current application interface processes and raw data files to customers requiring third party contracts to transition data and/or applications off the legacy mainframe.
What is an enterprise system?
  • Enterprise systems at USC are supported by University Technology Services.  Generally, enterprise systems process institutional data (as defined by the Data Access Policy, UNIV 1.50) and related business processes.  These systems may have any of the following characteristics:
    • at least two organizational units of the university use the system/data and consider it essential;
    • integration of related information requires the system/data;
    • the university must ensure the integrity of the system/data to comply with legal, regulatory and other external reporting requirements;
    • a broad cross section of users refer to or maintain the system/ data; or
    • the university needs the data to plan, manage, or audit its operations.

Systems maintained by a department for its sole use are not considered enterprise. Further, auxiliary systems such as orientation, housing, parking, etc. are not considered enterprise systems. 

  • Banner student, PeopleSoft finance and human resources, Blackboard, the data warehouse and the document imaging system are examples of enterprise systems. 
  • Customers that store data in legacy enterprise systems will continue to have the opportunity to store data in replacement systems such as Banner, PeopleSoft, document imaging and the data warehouse.
How can I be sure no one else gets my data?

Every data file or digital object on VM or MVS is associated with a mainframe userid. It will be necessary for you to establish that you currently have, or at one time had access to that userid. Authorized individuals within a department will be contacted to verify the validity of a claim and to authorize the receipt of that data.

What if I am not sure if I have data on the mainframe?

If you did not use the mainframe or if you were a mainframe user, but never submitted batch jobs to run on the mainframe, it’s a pretty safe bet that you don’t have any data stored on it. If you used the mainframe, but you don’t remember your userid, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket.

I have saved a lot of files on the mainframe over the years. What will happen to them now?

Unless you give us an explicit directive to erase or destroy your data, everything will remain in place until the mainframe is turned off. After that time, the disk drives will be physically destroyed to prevent unauthorized access to the data and the data will not be recoverable.

Every effort will be made to obtain destruction approval for records and data that are not migrated to a new environment. Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket. Please include what type of records and data you access through your userid, even if there is no longer an operational need to save them. Please include the data range.

I understand that I have to move my data off of the mainframe. Where can I move it?

If this is your personal or departmental only data, you will need to provide the new location on your PC or server. Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket so that we can help you determine the best solution for you data.

I found that I have data on the mainframe, but I don’t want to keep some or any of it. How do I get rid of it?

If you have the technical knowledge and the authority, delete the data that you do not need. Otherwise, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket. Include what type of records and data you access using your userid, even if there is no longer an operational need to save them. If the data is not moved it will be destroyed when the mainframe is shutdown.

What happens if I do nothing?

After the mainframe is turned off, the disk drives will be physically destroyed to prevent unauthorized access to the data and the data will not be recoverable.

Every effort will be made to obtain destruction approval for records and data that are not migrated to a new environment. Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket. Please include what type of records and data you access through your userid, even if there is no longer an operational need to save them. Please include the data range.

My department uses a program on the mainframe. It was created using SAS (or FORTRAN or COBOL or something else). What can we do about this program?

Since this is a departmental application, someone in your department will need to determine if this application can be recreated on another platform (server or PC) and have that accomplished. Please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

For questions or issues, please contact the UTS Service Desk at 777-1800 or login to the Mainframe Decommission page on the portal with your Network Username and password to create a ticket.

 

Request this Service or call our service desk at 7-1800