Who’s right about the future of mainframe?

November 19, 2018

Who’s right about the future of mainframe?

With the new Z14 series IBM continues to strongly focus on mainframe. They are certain that mainframe is not only here to stay but that it’s use will continue to grow. Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO said: “The mainframe has been around for more than 50 years, but it’s time is now.
It’s an integral part of many different data-driven use cases, including blockchain, the cloud, the mobile and digital economy, and emerging technologies like machine learning.”

However, recent global market research conducted by Vanson Bourne, an independent market research company, paints a completely different picture. Vanson Bourne surveyed 500 IT decision makers in organizations in UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, across different industries like financial services, telecoms, IT, government and public sector. The results were startling. The survey revealed that out of these 500 global companies:

  • 94% would consider moving off the mainframe
  • 71% say that the inflexibility of their mainframe limits the ability of the IT department to innovate
  • 77% say their organization should have already started the mainframe migration/modernization process to avoid being at risk
  • 81% are concerned by the potential skills gap within their organization’s mainframe teams

Over the years, IBM has consecutively sold off core technology where these technologies were being commoditized due to market pressures. Today, their only real remaining non commoditized compute technology is the mainframe. But now also that is losing its monopoly and differentiation as all cloud data centers now offer same or better resilience, scalability and much better flexibility and performance at a much lower price point. After system x and system p, is the mainframe finally next?

Isn’t saying the mainframe is here to stay the same as saying:

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

There are many vendors that promise to modernize mainframe systems. They claim to offer unlimited access to new technologies. When in fact, all they do is keep the mainframe ecosystem MANDATORY as you continue to rely on their applications for development. It’s just the deployment hardware that changes, everything else remains… Keeping you in a vendor lock-in.

Herman Eggink, Chief Commercial Officer Asysco
Unlocking Legacy Value