Businesses’ Mainframe Commitment Remains Strong

big data

The majority of big businesses are still deeply committed to their mainframes, and expect to increase spending

Good news for IBM and other mainframe makers after a new survey from BMC Software underlined the fact that ‘big iron’ looks set to remain an integral part of IT systems for large businesses, at least for the foreseeable future.

The findings of BMC’s sixth annual worldwide mainframe survey revealed that 93 percent of respondents at large companies expect capacity to grow or remain steady.

Meanwhile 62 percent, expect to grow overall capacity, compared to just 56 percent last year.

Mainframe Reliance

The survey also discovered that 47 percent of respondents said new workloads and new business applications are contributing to their capacity growth; and 60 percent of respondents said the top IT priority is keeping costs down.

The findings were gathered from 1,300 global mainframe users, who participated in the BMC survey. The respondents were mostly (52 percent) large businesses with revenues in excess of $1bn (£633m).

The survey also underlines the fact that despite the pressure to keep IT costs down, many large businesses are reliant on mainframes to help process greater volumes of data.

And the mainframe market in general is being helped by certain trends in the industry, such as data centre consolidation.

Mobile And Cloud

But other trends in the industry are also starting to be felt within the mainframe sector, with the move towards cloud and mobile computing.

55 percent of respondents said private cloud support was an important concept to understand for the future of the data centre, and then 60 percent of those respondents said it was important to the mainframe.

Meanwhile a CA survey last November found that mainframes continue to play a critical role as more companies move critical applications to the cloud.

The BMC survey also found that 31 percent believed that mobile device support (smartphone or tablet) was an important expectation for accessing the mainframe.

Yet despite these trends it is clear that cost control remains a top priority, and many companies continue to examine speciality engines, to reduce their mainframe usage cost.

Skills Shortage

“It’s always impressive to see that year-over-year the mainframe continues to be an important platform that businesses are using to run and grow their operations,” said Bill Miller, president of Mainframe Service Management at BMC.

“It’s even more impressive to see the future growth of the mainframe in the hybrid data centre,” Miller added.

IBM of course dominates the mainframe market, but other vendors also make mainframes, including Fujitsu, Groupe Bull, Hitachi and Unisys.

Whilst the sector has continued to successfully defy predictions of the “death of mainframes”, there is concern about the lack of mainframe skills, as businesses struggle to find staff with appropriate mainframe skills as their own mainframe experts reach retirement age.

This led CA Technologies in March to announce the launch of a ‘Mainframe Academy‘ to help develop mainframe talent.

It even donated $1 million (£613,000) to fund scholarships at its Mainframe Academy.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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