Mainframes 360
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Building your Private Mainframe on Windows PC or Laptop

On the day,

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CICS was born…
Today is 40th Anniversary of CICS.. Voila!

- Acknowledgments : Jay Moseley at
- Beratung Schulung Project
- The steps in tutorial have been run on my DELL LAPTOP with MS WINDOWS VISTA OS

On today’s special occasion, I have tried to put before you an interesting article, which even a novice can try out on his home PC. You’ll able to run JCL, COBOL, read write VSAM files, and build a small mainframe on your PC. Sounds interesting..? Have a look below :

Snapshots of MVS O/S on my DELL Laptop -

Another snapshot showing the RPF Menu

Ever dreamt of running your Batch Jobs/JCL, VSAM, COBOL-VSAM Programs on your Windows Desktop PC or Laptop? Napolean once said,”Impossible is the word in the dictionary of fools”.

It’s the era of convergence. People are trying all sorts of things – Apple has ported its Macintosh OS on Intel architecture. So, no wonder, you can run a Mac OS X Leopard on a Windows PC, as well as run MS Windows on a Macintosh machine, by using a proprietary software called Bootcamp.

Well, its no surprise than, people would have thought, can’t we build our very own private Mainframe machine? Could I convert my Windows PC/Linux Box into a mini-mainframe? Like build your own private Mainframe at home! Well, IBM doesn’t want that to happen, simply because it’ll run broke. Thanks to several ingenious people, they have accomplished the daunting task of install MVS Turnkey(The IBM Mainframes O/S) on Hercules emulator. While writing this article, I have extensively referred to Jay Moseley’s website – who happens to be a System Programmer. After following the steps of this tutorial correctly, you would say, “Voila! Here’s my baby Mainframe..”

But, let me caution you. Getting a MVS O/S to run on a PC, is a herculean task. You would need atleast 1-2 days to follow this article completely. “Patience is virtue, my friend..”

The entire installation process as well as the required software MVS 3.8j O/S can obtained from If one follows all the steps in the tutorial, you can get MVS 3.8j up and running. It comes pre-installed with TSO. Also, IBM has not release the ISPF program product into public domain. So, instead this installation comes with Rob Prins’ Programming Facility(RPF) as an alternative to ISPF.

I will be following this article up, with a couple of more posts in which I’ll try and run some JCL’s and COBOL programs on my beast..   

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