Why Customers Are Choosing Mainframes, Again

By Dianne Birtch, Top Gun Technology

The day has finally arrived!

IBM has announced the IBM z16, their next generation system that for the first time integrates on-chip AI accelerator with the capability to analyze real-time transactions on critical applications. This confirms what many industry experts were saying even prior to the announcement. The IBM mainframe remains core to many businesses. Enterprise organizations that process high-volume transactions and require a highly secure infrastructure continue to have a path forward that further enables their AIOps strategy.

It’s an exciting advancement!

Yet, some companies are still claiming to be moving off the mainframe.

Far from the decline once predicted, we continue to see a growing demand for IBM mainframe support across the globe and within every major industry. In fact, IBM has experienced over 50% mainframe revenue growth since the release of the z15. We expect this trend to continue based on our clients’ feedback and IBM’s predictions that estimate the global mainframe market will grow $2.9B by 2025.

Prior to the announcement of the z16, over 90% of global financial institutions, education and insurance companies remain loyal to the reliability of the IBM mainframe to support their business. This includes many global payment and technology companies that transfer electronic funds and credit card transactions throughout the world requiring the highest level of security. Certainly, with this loyalty, the IBM mainframe marketplace will continue to be quite healthy.

Specifically, the IBM z15 touted mission-critical hybrid cloud with new innovations across security, data privacy and resiliency. When the z15 was announced, IBM marketed pervasive encryption designed to enforce security and privacy protection on-prem, off-prem, or in the cloud, across platforms.

IBM’s history of security leadership made the mainframe famous and continues to solidify IBM’s position as the IT department’s “go-to” for Data Privacy and Security. Think IBM Z Data Privacy Passports, IBM Z Data Privacy for Diagnostics and Crypto Express 7S to enhance Data privacy and security, and IBM System Recovery Boost combined with enhancements in GDPS to expedite and streamline Business continuity and resilience.

When the z14 was announced back in 2017, enhanced security features such as pervasive encryption was top priority. Prior to that, the z13 (announced in 2015) released the new Crypto Express5S cryptographic adapter, with format preserving encryption (FPE).

According to IBM, the mainframe runs up to 19 billion transactions a day, provides 99.99999% availability with resiliency and instant recovery, protecting data at rest and in-flight with robust security. With this capacity, along with the extensive encryption capabilities, the IBM mainframe provides the data protection required without degradation of the overall performance.

As artificial intelligence and machine learning become mainstream, IBM followed suit with the Watson machine-learning technology included within the z15 family of processors, positioning the IBM mainframe in the AI space prior to the release of the z16.

The advantages of the mainframe computer continue to offer reliability, availability and serviceability, along with high-end scalability, as well as increased security, regardless of vintage. Other advantages include multiple OS compatibility, increased memory storage, virtualization and most importantly, long-lasting performance and real-time monitoring and control.

So, why are companies still claiming they’re moving off the Mainframe?

Two of the top reasons are cost of ownership and a limited technical labor market.

Mainframes are expensive to procure and can be expensive to support, especially when IBM increases hardware maintenance support costs to motivate their customers to upgrade to newer generations.

The talent pool of Mainframe engineers is declining, making it more difficult to staff and retain z/OS experts. For these reasons, mainframe users turn to alternative service and support providers, such as Top Gun Technology.

By strategically shifting your maintenance support to an independent support provider that specializes in mainframe expertise, OpEx (Operating Expense) is immediately freed up to be allocated elsewhere. With inflationary pressures, companies are revealing even deeper cost-control requirements and deferring IT capital investments.

A capable and mainframe-proven third-party maintenance (TPM) and support provider can provide a significant relief. With a trusted independent support provider that also offers a full suite of hardware, software (e.g. z/OS) services and mainframe software products, the mainframe can remain the workhorse of your enterprise without the exorbitant price tag. By reducing cost of ownership on today’s mainframe, companies are better positioned to accelerate their path to mainframe generations that incorporate AI and enhanced security.

In summary, all signs suggest that IBM is continuing to invest in mainframe innovations for enterprises that require the highest level of security and performance.

With over 20 years of delivering IBM solutions and support, Top Gun Technology is fully vested in the success of mainframe clients and will continue to help accelerate its clients’ mainframe modernization roadmap.

Additional IBM Mainframe Resources:

Blog Author Details

Dianne Birtch

Chief Revenue Officer

Top Gun Technology

Dianne’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dlbirtch/