NT/Windows and Unix are the e-biz

The mainframe has a bright future, but not as rosy as Windows NT and Unix systems, according to research by analyst Xephon.

The mainframe has a bright future, but not as rosy as Windows NT and Unix systems, according to research by analyst Xephon.

In a survey of 59 senior IT managers at S/390 installations across the world, a third said they predicted strong long-term growth for their mainframes and a further 46% expected at least some increase in application development. But most respondents said NT/Windows 2000 and Unix growth is far outstripping the mainframe, especially in the area of e-business development.

But Xephon's director of research, Mark Lillycrop, believes the mainframe is in good shape to meet the challenge. "The technology has never been in better shape for managing large workloads, and the S/390 still offers unparalleled performance in the commercial world. Users now have 64-bit support, widespread usage based pricing, and a unique opportunity to run thousands of Linux images on one system. On the other hand, IBM is now more or less alone in the mainframe hardware market, since HDS and Amdahl started to pull out, and S/390 skills are becoming increasingly scarce."

Zephon found that 8% of the sites surveyed already had Linux running on a mainframe, with a further quarter planning to do so in the near future. Just under a fifth are running Web applications on S/390, with another third having definite plans to do so, which would bring it up to the levels of competing platforms.

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