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Overcoming Legacy IT Challenges with Managed Mainframe Services

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If your business is running legacy IT systems—and chances are that it is—you know they can introduce a number of challenges for you and your staff. But more than just an annoyance, legacy systems eat into your bottom line, costing you money, alienating customers, and introducing security risks. Legacy IT is a form of technical debt not easily satisfied.  Here are just a few of the issues you may be facing.

Legacy systems are difficult to secure.

Securing hardware and software is generally an iterative process, where threats are detected and security patches are created to respond to those threats. But since legacy systems have been around longer and often have fewer users, software developers may not prioritize these fixes. As hackers attack vulnerabilities more quickly, legacy systems can and will become the weak point in your business defenses.

Support for legacy IT is harder to find.

Just like some of the security issues, service and support of older, more proprietary systems is generally less available. That can lead to several challenges: It won’t be as easy to find a qualified manager or train someone new, and service costs may be higher than what you’d pay for newer systems. These systems require strategic IT staffing and increased attention.

Legacy systems lack easy integration.

You probably have legacy IT that you’d like to connect with more modern software and hardware, but those bridges may not exist or might be something you and your staff have to build yourselves. That means added workloads, greater needed expertise, and most likely, higher costs. You may also run into compatibility issues for file and data formats.

For these and other reasons, many companies are looking for help in managing legacy IT systems. This is especially true when you’re working in a mainframe environment.

Though mainframes are seen as “old” technology, these workhorses still handle many jobs requiring large-scale batch and transaction processing. Despite long service tenures, most won’t be replaced anytime soon because of budget limitations. That’s where managed mainframe services come in.

The combination of large capital replacement costs and an aging technician population means that outsourcing mainframe infrastructure and support just makes sense. So, how does mainframe-as-a-service work?

What you should know about managed mainframe services.

Like other as-a-service models, managed mainframe services rely on a vendor relationship. The provider maintains the needed IT infrastructure and offers support, while the business user pays based on consumption.

That’s why organizations can see significant cost savings while also limiting risk. The mainframe services provider handles regular maintenance along with necessary upgrades to the IT infrastructure. The user is responsible for just compute, storage, and batch time. Mainframe services are a solid move in response to the challenges presented by legacy mainframe systems.

As you consider the impact of managed mainframe services on a legacy system, look at some of the additional benefits.

Simple scalability: Like most cloud configurations, businesses are not tied to a predetermined service level. It’s easy to scale up or down based on current needs.

Predictable and regular costs: Budgeting becomes much simpler and CAPEX moves to OPEX, preventing unpleasant surprises.

Greater business continuity: Limiting or preventing downtime in the face of mainframe failure is the holy grail of any administrator. Managed mainframe services builds in redundancies and disaster recovery that would likely be cost prohibitive in the ownership model.

Round-the-clock support: At the highest levels, mainframe users can expect constant support. It’s a benefit that’s rarely available in the ownership model, and the peace of mind it confers is priceless.

If you’re looking for a way to smooth the rough edges of your legacy IT system, managed mainframe services fit the bill. It’s the equivalent of moving from an entry-level vehicle to a top-of-the-line sports car, without feeling the financial pinch.