Businesses find new uses for mainframes


Businesses find new uses for mainframes

Cliff Saran

Businesses are finding more ways to use their IBM System z mainframe platforms, a study from IDC has found. Far from being killed off, the mainframe is still considered a significant platform for running applications, according to the analyst firm.

IDC surveyed a total of 300 mainframe users on the usage patterns they see in their sites and looked at their future intentions regarding acquisition of System z and software to run on the mainframe platform.

The study identified 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 in IDC's Enterprise Platforms Group.

Many mainframe users reported that they 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, Enterprise System Management Software.

Mainframes have been perceived as expensive necessities, required for business-critical systems. Over time, many systems have been migrated to PC and Unix servers configured in mutli-tiered distributed architectures, where serevrs are allocated specific functions to support the business applications and provide high availability.

WinterGreen Research has estimated that seven times more IT administrators are required to run a real-time, 24/7, high-availability distributed computing environment compared to running the same application on a mainframe system.

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