Mainframe still 'cornerstone of enterprise computing'

In a world of constant IT change, the mainframe is retaining its position as a cornerstone platform for multi-tier enterprise computing, according to a survey of top IT professionals by CA.

More than 100 IT executives and managers at companies using the IBM System z mainframe from a variety of industries in the US, Europe, and Australia, were polled about their views of mainframe, distributed, and cloud computing models. Respondents were from companies with $500m to more than $10 billion in revenue. More than 35 per cent of respondents were from the financial sector.

Respondents repeatedly chose the mainframe as the platform ‘most representative of key positive attributes’ — especially when it came to reliability, resilience, security, management, and compliance. The mainframe also was selected over the other two platforms when it came to cost-effectiveness, ‘greenness’, and affordability of staff.

The importance of the role the mainframe plays in supporting the delivery of business services in a multi-tier environment was emphasised by the fact that 97 per cent of respondents said that at least some of their distributed applications would ‘fail in the event of lack of availability of the mainframe’.

Seventy-six per cent of survey respondents said that managing a large number of distributed servers in their data centres has become a cost issue, with 67 per cent stating that as the distributed infrastructure grows, the ability to run multiple applications on a single mainframe becomes more attractive.

Eighty-one per cent of respondents cited limited data centre floor space as another challenge faced by their organisations, giving them yet another argument in favour of adding workloads to a single mainframe, rather than adding additional distributed server infrastructure.

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