LONDON, UK 2-Feb-2022
The 2nd of February, a day that is associated with a large rodent predicting the weather in the United States has a significantly different meaning at investment powerhouse Thames Financial and Wealth. On the 2nd of February the senior It staff and the finance and budgeting department hold their annual forecasting meeting that decides the IT direction of the company for the upcoming year. This is also the only time of the year that mainframe architect Phil Sutawney emerges from “the cave”, a dark and dreary data center space that houses the company’s mainframe - a system that Phil built at the beginning of his career in 1978 and has kept a stranglehold on for the better part of 45 years. On this day each year, Phil makes the epic trek up to the 4th floor to give his annual thumbs up or thumbs down, which dictates his willingness to relinquish some of the data necessary to migrate the aging yet crucial processes to more modern systems. “Look, this bloke has been holding this cloud project up for like 7 years. Every year blunders up here looking all smug, then sticks his tongue out or makes a razz sound while giving a thumbs down. Management just lets him get away with it because he’s literally the only person that knows how that crumbling pile of iron works, and he won’t document it or teach anyone else.” Says cloud engineer Chad Savage. “They hired me literally 5 years ago and I have done nothing for five years. I just show up, draw a salary, and report to my manager every month that I am waiting on Phil to get me the data I need. They just shrug and say that he will, but he never does. I think they just want me around for when he finally kicks over or chokes on his lunch. I don’t think he even has a flat, he basically just lives in that chair.”
“Why should I?” Phil responds when asked by JFI why he doesn’t help modernize. “No one can do this as good as I can, and what else would I do if I gave any of this up? My mainframe is more powerful that someone else’s computer running god knows where.” he continues. “They’re lucky I let them have the TN3270 emulators on their new-fangled microsoft computers. Distributed computing. Bollocks. Nothing runs like a 390.”.
Phil was last seen disappearing back into “the cave”. Management told JFI that they expect they will see Phil next February, and expressed hope that he would be a tad more flexible next time.