Mainframes find new life with digital enterprise


They may hark back to a bygone era, but mainframes are becoming increasingly important to today’s digital business, according to a new report. 

As more and more businesses digitise their operations, the mainframe is seeing more investment, says BMC in its 11th annual Mainframe Research Report.

More than 1,200 executives and technical professionals were surveyed by BMC, which concludes that “mainframes are a critical core IT platform supporting the volume and velocity of data and transactions being created by digital business”.

With nearly 60 percent of companies seeing increased data and transaction volumes, and a growing number of databases, companies continue to select the mainframe as a key platform, says BMC.

BMC adds that the mainframe is “a highly secure, superior data and transaction server, particularly as digital business adds unpredictability and volatility to workloads”.

Respondents surveyed by BMC fall into three groups based on their mainframe investment strategies:

  • 58 per cent of companies surveyed are in the increasing group and looking to grow their investment and use of the mainframe.
  • 23 per cent indicate they will keep a steady amount of work on the mainframe.
  • Only 19 per cent plan to reduce the usage of the platform.

Bill Miller, president of zSolutions Optimization at BMC, says: “The 2016 BMC Mainframe Research Report presents compelling data about the current demand and future outlook for mainframes in digital business.

“With 89 percent of survey respondents projecting continued strong support for the mainframe, it is clear that companies view the mainframe as a long-term platform.

“BMC helps customers transform their mainframes for digital business by helping them optimize their systems, data, and costs.”

BMC is a software company which claims to provide services to 82 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 10,000 companies worldwide. It operates in 30 countries, has approximately 6,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenues.

Mainframes remain the main repository for the core business logic – or transactions – of most of the world’s largest enterprises, and the company perhaps most strongly associated with mainframes, IBM, forecasts increasing demand for such services.

The company recently launched its new mainframe for encrypted hybrid clouds, the IBM z13s, which it says is “enabled and optimized for hybrid cloud environments and can help secure critical information and transactions better than before”.

Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems, says: “Fast and secure transaction processing is core to the IBM mainframe, helping clients grow their digital business in a hybrid cloud environment.

“With the new IBM z13s, clients no longer have to choose between security and performance. This speed of secure transactions, coupled with new analytics technology helping to detect malicious activity and integrated IBM Security offerings, will help mid-sized clients grow their organization with peace of mind.”