Even in the midst of a recession, the mainframe continues to be a strategic platform as many data center managers say they expect to increase spending on mainframe technology.
Even in the midst of a recession, the mainframe continues to be a
strategic platform as many data center managers said they expect to
increase spending on mainframe technology.
According to a recent survey by market research firm IDC, nearly
one-half of respondents indicated they plan to increase annual spending
on mainframe hardware and software. Indeed, rather than it being in
spite of the economic uncertainty, perhaps it is because of the shaky
economy that plans for increased investments in mainframe hardware and
software represent a ray of light for enterprise data center managers
who plan to leverage their existing mainframe deployments.
IDC's study involves the views of 300 end users on the role of the
mainframe in the multi-platform data center, and provides particular
provides insights into the current state of the IBM System z mainframe
platform. It also looks at the fate of the mainframe in the future. The
study identifies the emergence of a blended, or hybrid, approach to
computing on the IBM System z platform.
"Customers are finding that new workloads, including Linux-based and
Java-based workloads, can leverage the mainframe's built-in security
and high levels of availability, by running them on mainframe specialty
processors, such as the IFL, zIIP and zAAP processors," said Jean
Bozman, research vice president with IDC's Enterprise Platforms Group,
in a statement. "This pattern of adoption is placing software licensing
costs on a lower price schedule for these new workloads than if they
were running natively on the IBM System z hardware platform. In this
way, customers are seeing a blended approach to deploying and
maintaining workloads - carrying longtime workloads forward on System
z, even as they bring new workloads onto the mainframe."
Changes in the storage environment are also expected, according to
the study. "As more people access these systems, investments in
capacity must be made to accommodate increased usage of existing
applications," said Laura DuBois, program director for Storage Software
at IDC, in a statement. "Additionally, usage growth will be driven by a
range of new workloads coming onto the mainframe platform, and from
applications that need access to mainframe-hosted databases." The
importance of the mainframe and its mission-critical workloads to large
businesses not only ensures its longevity, but also drives additional
The mainframe is still seen by respondents as a key element of
centrally managed corporate data and high value computing workloads by
providing them with a layer of highly controllable enterprise
management software. Many customers reported that they can plan another
wave of investments in the System z platform over the next two to five
years, given the system's high availability, reliability, and security
for mission-critical applications. "Customers continue to collect
dividends on their System z investments, which makes future investments
much more palatable, even in difficult economic times," said Tim
Grieser, program vice president of Enterprise System Management
Software at IDC, in a statement. "The positive outlook for the
mainframe is also driven by specific initiatives designed to improve
the utility and operational efficiency of the platform from the
perspectives of highly scalable operations, ability to run new
workloads, and total cost of operations (TCO)."
Other key findings from the study include:
IBM has revitalized the mainframe by implementing the specialized processor strategy
According to survey respondents, "processing power" and "system
reliability/uptime" were the top-ranked reasons for hosting
applications on the mainframe
Favorable pricing was the No. 1 reason for migrating applications off the mainframe.
Additional survey findings can be found in the IDC special study,
Mainframe Directions in the Multi-Platform Data Center 2009-2013:
Today's Workloads and Future Outlook (IDC #219797).
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.