In a debate at last week's UKCMG conference in Edinburgh, members of the group, which is dominated by large IT user organisations, voted by almost two to one in favour of the motion that the mainframe is the best platform for critical Web server business.
But speakers on both sides of the debate agreed that the platform was less important than the approach to running systems.
"The hardware and operating system don't matter," said Harry Sheldrake, a former chairman of UKCMG. "It's systems management you need."
Speakers agreed that Unix systems can offer similar availability, reliability and performance to mainframe-based systems if users use the tools now available for Unix systems to apply the systems management practices developed on mainframes. But they also agreed that this was rarely the case.
"Unix people just don't want to learn from mainframe people," said Sheldrake.
In the formal part of the debate, sponsored by Computer Weekly, Peter Norris, consulting IT specialist at IBM, and Bob Johnson, vice-president of business at Landmark Systems, spoke in favour of the mainframe. Independent consultant and Unix expert Jaqui Lynch and Chris Looseley, senior Internet consultant at Keynote Systems, spoke up for Unix and other mainframe alternatives.