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Division of Information Technology

Mainframe Decommission

Mainframe Decommission is the retirement of the mainframe and associated legacy hardware and software systems. This project includes and is dependent on three major projects that must be completed before decommission can take place.  As the projects below are being implemented, the decommission project is preparing by supporting and providing input on all three dependent projects, moving copies of static data to Oracle from the mainframe, validating the moved data, creating end user views, and a long list of other preparation tasks.

  • Human Resources and Payroll Project: This project is the conversion of human resources and payroll from the mainframe to PeopleSoft. For more information about this project visit the Human Resources and Payroll Project
  • Identity and Access Management Project: (IAM) This project is dedicated to the access and provisioning of users and their data. This project has to be done in conjunction with the above Human Resources and Payroll project as all of the mainframe functionality must be transitioned to PeopleSoft/IAM.
  • Historical Data Migration Project: Originally part of the Mainframe Decommission charter, the purpose of this project is to convert all enterprise historical data that needs to be retained, from the mainframe to a non-mainframe platform. This includes Content Manager images, OnDemand reports and all required databases/files. Please see FAQ’s below. Click on any question for additional information on that topic.

The legacy mainframe is scheduled to be retired after the PeopleSoft project is fully and successfully completed. Data stored using IMS, CMS, TSO, Content Manager and OnDemand on the mainframe will be impacted by this retirement. Anticipated implementation of decommission is early 2020.


Mainframe Decommission FAQs

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, Data 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.

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. Human Resources and Payroll to PeopleSoft HCM conversion took place April 1, 2019.

The legacy mainframe is scheduled to be retired in early 2020.  Individual user data that needs to be retained must be moved by September 30, 2019. University Enterprise data (non-individual user data) will be migrated by the first quarter of 2020.  

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 DoIT 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.

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 DoIT 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.
  • There is no charge to retrieve non-enterprise data from the mainframe.  If it is a large amount of data and you want to move it to a server you are liable for any costs associated with the set up and ongoing maintenance of that server.


  • Non enterprise data owners have until September 30, 2019 to retrieve any/all data stored on the mainframe that they wish to keep.
  • Enterprise systems at USC are supported by DoIT.  Generally, enterprise systems process institutional data (as defined by the Data and Information Governance Policy, UNIV 1.51) 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.

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 DoIT 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.

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, the disk drives will be physically destroyed to prevent unauthorized access and the data will not be recoverable.

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.

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.


For questions or issues, please contact the DoIT 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.

Individual information/data is stored on the mainframe using an individual assigned mainframe ID.  It can be any format or size. If you used your mainframe user ID (not the same as your network user ID) you would more than likely remember the data, user ID and how you logged into the mainframe. No one has access to the individual data except the individual who created it.  Access to all individual data created by individual mainframe user ID’s will no longer be available after September 30, 2019.

Enterprise data on the other hand, is University data generated and stored by an application or production job(s) such as HR/Payroll.  Some people may be granted access to Enterprise data for work, research, auditing and other reasons.  Enterprise data is being converted by the mainframe decommission team and will no longer be available after March 31, 2020.      


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