Today’s Architects/Rituraj Mahato

Rituraj Mahato

IBM Z Champion

Pursuing his passion of breaking boundaries with IBM Z

Rituraj Mahato - IBM Z Champion

Resilience beyond measure with IBM Z - the backbone of our digital world.”

About Rituraj

When Rituraj Mahato arrived at Vellore Institute of Technology, he was immediately drawn to the power and precision of mainframe through the IBM Z Student Ambassador program.

Day in the Life of Rituraj Mahato

Starting his day with university classes that extend until evening, he utilizes the night-time hours to enhance his knowledge about IBM Z through platforms like IBM Z Xplore, Interskill Learning, and IBM Training. He spends considerable time on creating content, checking whether someone needs assistance, and getting mainframe updates.

When it comes to learning, he doesn’t confine himself to specific objectives; rather, he embraces knowledge out of an innate curiosity. The learning platforms he previously mentioned provide a wealth of diverse educational resources that contribute significantly to enhancing an individual's knowledge. It's important for people to know that when he discusses mainframes, the scope isn't confined to RACF, COBOL, REXX, and JCL. Mainframes encompass a wide array of open-source technologies, including but not limited to Apache Kafka, Ansible, Kubernetes, Docker, RabbitMQ, and more. Most people think that mainframe skills are completely different from traditional skills which are needed in the industry but that’s not true.

In his role as an IBM Z Student Ambassador, he actively participates in a range of monthly virtual events centered around IBM Z. These events are not only focused on the technical aspect but also cover topics like personal branding, networking, and mentoring. He collaborates with other ambassadors in organizing learning sessions focused on emerging technologies including Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Cloud Computing. As an IBM Champion, his primary objective revolves around raising awareness about the exceptional potential of this technology and the opportunities it offers. He doesn’t just share opportunities but also shares his personal achievements fostering an authentic connection that resonates with his audience. He creates mainframe related content on LinkedIn and speaks at various events. This technology has really helped him in differentiating himself from rest of the students. By acquiring mainframe expertise and recognition, he’s attracted substantial attention and opportunities he couldn’t have imagined!

What inspired Rituraj to learn about IBM Z?

The journey all began with his involvement in the IBM Z Student Ambassador Program, where he was introduced to this amazing technology on which the world's economy depends. He always wanted to work in tech, which is why he chose to pursue computer science and engineering after completing high school. As a student, he was looking for opportunities to learn and explore new things in tech and he got to know about this program. The program opened doors for him, granting him access to invaluable resources such as Interskill Learning and invitations to exclusive mainframe events featuring IBM experts.

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What inspired Rituraj to learn about IBM Z?

The journey all began with his involvement in the IBM Z Student Ambassador Program, where he was introduced to this amazing technology on which the world's economy depends. He always wanted to work in tech, which is why he chose to pursue computer science and engineering after completing high school. As a student, he was looking for opportunities to learn and explore new things in tech and he got to know about this program. The program opened doors for him, granting him access to invaluable resources such as Interskill Learning and invitations to exclusive mainframe events featuring IBM experts. He took every single opportunity available to him at that time, and that's the reason why he believes he became an IBM Champion. Realizing the increasing demand for a skilled workforce in this domain, he decided to delve deeper into this field. The IBM Z Xplore platform was his entry point and after completing his advanced badge he continued to gain technical knowledge about IBM Z through the Interskill Learning platform. He highly recommends also checking out IBM Z Enterprise Computing Kickstart website, which provides an array of comprehensive resources. IBM Training offers many free technical courses on IBM Z like Application Modernization, COBOL Programming with VS Code, etc. He started his learning with IBM z/OS Mainframe Practitioner course and that laid a pretty good foundation for him to continue further.

What motivates Rituraj about IBM Z:

Mainframes are well-known for their reliability, offering high availability and robust data security which makes them optimal for running mission-critical workloads. In the past decade, additional security features have been introduced to these systems like the addition of pervasive encryption with z14, data privacy passports with z15, and quantum-safe cryptography with z16. IBM earlier used to offer mainframe configurations which were suitable for larger enterprises but now it offers options for rack mount configurations which suits small and medium enterprises with lower processor cores and associated pricing. Parallel sysplex allows mainframes to share data between z/OS systems via coupling facility which runs as an LPAR on a mainframe. It supports up to 32 z/OS Systems running as a single platform, the workload is balanced via the Workload Manager (WLM) and if a failure occurs then the Sysplex Failure Management (SFM) will be used to define sysplex-wide policy that specifies the actions that z/OS MVS should perform. The debut of the IBM z16 marked a significant milestone, showcasing the Telum processor as the industry's pioneering chip to incorporate an AI Acceleration module. With this processor, mainframes are capable of performing real-time AI inferencing on every transaction to detect fraudulent activity. Personal computers consist of a single CPU and a GPU to perform general tasks. Whereas, mainframes consist of multiple processors for various purposes within the CPC drawers. The processors include CP, SAP, IFL, zIIP, ICF and zAAP. For example, if a company wants to run its workload on Linux then IFL would be used. Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) is designed to provide the best performance and efficiency for running Linux workloads. Similarly, the Integrated Coupling Facility (ICF) processor is used by the coupling facility to perform all the background tasks which provides a secure and reliable connection between different systems. IBM Z offers impressive scalability and with its centralized architecture it saves a significant amount of energy and space which really differentiates a mainframe from a cloud server. For example, a mainframe can run millions of containers on multiple LPARs in a single system which can replace thousands of x86-based servers. If we consider this fact, in the longer run clients can save maintenance cost, licensing cost, and software cost as they would require very few mainframes to replace the cloud servers. Enterprises can leverage the power of mainframes to perform big data analysis and could integrate it within their cloud environment to get the best of both worlds. It is these technical innovations and capabilities that fascinate Rituraj and inspire him to keep learning.

What helped Rituraj start his mainframe journey?

When he started his mainframe journey, he attended every crowdcast event organized by IBM and took part in various networking sessions which were organized during the IBM Z Student Ambassador Program. Learning in public really helped him to stay motivated and set goals for himself. A practice that truly transformed his journey and significantly contributed to his accomplishments was the method of breaking down the comprehensive learning curriculum into smaller, manageable segments. This strategic approach allowed him to navigate toward bigger goals by focusing on achievable milestones. His commitment to lifelong learning became evident as he dedicated time each day to expanding his knowledge, resulting in a profound enhancement of his technical grasp of mainframes. Without advocacy and consistent learning, he would not have been able to accomplish all of this.

Rituraj’s advice

For those aspiring to pursue a mainframe career, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, use the community and available programs to build connections with mainframers and IBM professionals engaged in the IBM Z domain. Gaining insights into their experiences and endeavors can provide invaluable guidance. It's advisable to concentrate on cultivating a robust foundation in computer science. Advocacy and active engagement in the community is pivotal for anyone aspiring to earn the title of an IBM Champion. He suggests completing relevant courses and training programs such as those offered by IBM and other vendors.

So, what does Rituraj do in his free time?

Helping students interested in mainframe technology by answering their queries and guiding them in their mainframe journey. He listens to music across various genres, uses YouTube for entertainment and education, and plays the guitar, finding both relaxation and creativity in these activities. Additionally, he focuses on enhancing and editing the media content which he has captured during his travels.

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