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3 Reasons Why Organizations Still Trust the Mainframe
By: James Brouhard on August 21, 2023
It’s no secret that many organizations are adopting cloud migration plans for their legacy infrastructure. Even large corporations have announced plans to close their data center operations to move away from the mainframe. While cloud is becoming a key driver in digital transformation strategies, a case also can be made for organizations who prefer to keep their workloads on the mainframe. In fact, the global mainframe market is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2025, according to a new research report. A huge chunk of Fortune 500 companies continue to utilize mainframe systems, and the mainframe market is only going to grow in the years to come.1. Mainframe Machines Continue to Be a Powerful Force
The mainframe is still evolving several decades after being introduced to the business world. It’s a foundational force that meets the needs of countless business enterprises spanning a variety of sectors.
Mainframes are a critical part of the business and operational growth for thousands of organizations that rely on mainframes for their increasing workloads and processing power. At its core, the modern mainframe is a high-performance computer with large amounts of memory that can process billions of calculations and transactions at a time. Businesses need them to carry out millions of monetary or data transactions per minute to stay afloat, and credit transactions heavily rely on sophisticated mainframe systems.
In addition, IBM continues to launch new capabilities for mainframe that help provide the most secure platform available for your critical data and workloads. This includes new AI and cyber resiliency features that use deep AI learning to detect fraud at the transaction layer for financial services providers. IBM has also introduced the first system to help protect against “harvest now, decrypt later” quantum attacks by introducing protection down to the firmware layer. Combining the new IBM z16 security features with Watson Machine Learning and Watson X AI integration, IBM has taken a significant leap forward in ensuring the mainframe continues to be the most resilient system available for your critical workloads.
AI is also embedded into the IBM Telum processor. The new AI accelerator that is embedded in the chip can scale up to 300 billion inference requests per day at one-millisecond latency for each request. The IBM z16 has 20 times the response time with 19 times higher throughput when inferencing, compared to a x86 cloud server.
2. Organizations Don’t Want to Risk Moving Their Most Important Workloads
The mainframe is typically central to a client's technical architecture, housing critical data and 10-30 years of business applications that are codependent. Mainframes also have provided a secure and well-understood access framework for many clients, especially in highly regulated industries. For example, mainframes provide a high level of security and reliability that is critical to the 24/7 business cycle. The mainframe computers can withstand bizarre natural calamities like an earthquake. Moving off of them could raise concerns that span across business and security teams. In addition, a migration would be complex, and some companies don’t have the skills or technology in place to rewrite applications or manage such a technical feat. Instead, companies developing cloud strategies are finding it easier to keep sizable mainframes and their core applications at the center of their business while building new capabilities around it.
Refactoring and rearchitecting applications is more involved and naturally presents more risks. To avoid business impact and interruption to customers, workload performance and business processes must be validated.
3. Better Price/Performance for Specific Workloads
Enterprises are finding that the mainframe remains a more cost-efficient option for large workloads that are resource-intense or have high transactional volume.
Refactoring and rewriting core applications can be an expensive process, especially if applications are tightly coupled to software and data hosted on the mainframe. The cost for testing and validation also can be costly. IBM use cases and studies have shown that modernizing on the mainframe can reduce the cost associated with expensive software solutions while maintaining the benefits of performance that only the mainframe can provide. With the ability to run OpenShift, a trusted Kubernetes enterprise platform on IBM z, organizations have a path to decreasing their overall expense related to leveraging the industry’s most trusted platform while still enabling the path to transformation.
Challenges that Mainframe Management Can Help Organizations Overcome
Organizations that have opted to stay on the mainframe are faced with challenges that skilled and trusted mainframe management partners can help them overcome to ensure their systems are meeting their growing business needs.
- Managing mainframe systems can be complex, costly and time-consuming since they interface with a variety of other technologies, such as mobile devices and customer-facing applications. Many companies have limited skills in-house which make it difficult to maintain and update legacy systems.
- Mainframe workloads are typically highly regulated, data-intensive and require large batch processing on a regular basis.
- Partnering with an MSP like FNTS can proactively identify and resolve challenges, in addition to reducing infrastructure costs and increasing flexibility.
The Benefits of a MFaaS Model
Through Mainframe-as-a-Service, FNTS helps clients overcome common challenges with staying on the mainframe by managing systems remotely or transitioning mainframe workloads to FNTS infrastructure. Below are other value-added benefits:
- FNTS provides the mainframe hardware, DASD, virtual tape environment and networking components.
- Reduces risk with robust disaster recovery solutions to ensure minimal impact to the business if there is a technical outage.
- Ability to scale up or down as business needs change, including for peak seasons.
- Predictable and regular costs by moving from a CAPEX to OPEX model. MFaaS reduces overall cost of operation by an average of 15-20%.
- Around-the-clock support. Plus, augment existing talent with additional depth and breadth of technical talent, providing continuity with your retiring workforce.
- Reduce and/or eliminate time spent in managing software relationships and maintenance.
- Consultative approach including operational reviews, quarterly business reviews and executive summits, along with a Field CTO and CISO who can engage regularly for strategic discussions.
- Strong security posture aligned to address regulatory compliance requirements.
- Access to resources to assist with application modernization and mainframe optimization.
- Migration approach mitigates risk by allowing testing and validation, prior to cutover.
- Full visibility into what is occurring at FNTS, including reporting and self-service tools.
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