IT service provider and Wipro find enterprises are using the systems for modern workloads and hybrid cloud initiatives
Modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are giving many enterprises more reasons for keeping and expanding their use of mainframe systems, according to a report released Thursday by IT service provider Ensono and Wipro, an IT service and consulting business.
The Lowdown: The survey, conducted with Forrester Research analysts and involving 153 IT decision-makers in the United States and Europe, was released the same day IBM rolled out its Z15 mainframe, a system the company is pitching as a highly reliable and secure tool for a multicloud world that includes containers, Kubernetes, and modern workloads leveraging AI, machine learning, and data analytics.
The Details: According to the survey, while such traditional mission-critical applications like ERP (48%), finance and accounting (45%), HR management (44%), and enterprise content management (43%) remain the key workloads on mainframes, 27% of respondents said they’re running blockchain initiatives and containerized applications, which benefit from the integrated security and massive parallelization in the systems. In addition, 25% said they’re putting mobile sites and applications onto the mainframe.
In all, the survey found that half of organizations not only are continuing to use mainframes but also will increase that use over the next two years, while only 5% are looking to decrease mainframe use or remove mainframes altogether. In addition, 38% plan to adopt DevOps for their mainframes.
The Impact: The survey reinforces the trend found in other studies that enterprises are taking an increasingly hybrid approach to their infrastructure. They’re migrating some applications to the cloud – including more mission-critical workloads, according to a study earlier this year released by Virtustream, which is owned by Dell Technologies – while keeping others on premises, including on mainframes.
Background: IBM has been able to keep and grow its decades-old mainframe business despite almost constant predictions of the systems’ demise. The company’s mainframe business has hit a down cycle in recent quarters, but IBM notes that 87% of credit card transactions and 29 billion ATM transactions every year worth almost $5 billion a day are processed on its Z systems. In addition, 60% of Fortune 500 companies use IBM mainframes, the vendor said.
The Buzz: “We believe this research challenges popular opinion that mainframe is for legacy. Everything that made mainframe great in the past – security, reliability, versatility, performance – is still true today, and the latest generation of mainframe technology will now run the same cutting-edge applications and services as cloud infrastructure,” said Brian Klingbell, executive vice president of technology and strategy at Ensono. “Mainframe modernization not only gives enterprises the ability to continue to run their legacy applications but also allows them to embrace new technologies such as containerized microservices, blockchain, and mobile applications. Organizations don’t modernize in a vacuum. The research supports what we see in our work with clients, where many larger organizations are settling on a hybrid best-of-breed approach, allowing their IT decision-makers to use the infrastructure that best suits their project.”
“Mainframe modernization is central to a long-term holistic hybrid IT strategy for enterprises leveraging mainframes,” said Kiran Desai, senior vice president and global head of cloud and infrastructure services at Wipro. “This research provides two very apt strategies for enterprises that allow them to take full advantage of mainframes – the first being to refactor applications to take advantage of cloud; and the second, to modernize mainframes by adopting DevOps. The research also shows that more than a quarter of firms see mainframes running emerging workloads like blockchain and containerized applications. We believe modern mainframes will have a significant role to play in the hybrid future of infrastructure. We are confident that Ensono’s decades of hosting and managed-mainframe experience, coupled with Wipro’s deep expertise in mainframe applications support, cloud migrations, and DevOps, will help deliver improved services with increased efficiencies to clients.”