Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Seven Mainframe Computer Myths

BMC | June 27, 2016
Mainframe computers are as important to IT infrastructures today as ever, and it’s time to dispel a few myths.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

As someone who has worked in the mainframe industry for more than 20 years, I find it a little funny and somewhat frustrating that the mainframe has become culturally associated with AIs that are determined to eradicate or abuse humanity, for example, "The Terminator" and "The Matrix." Maybe worse, in a world of cloud processing and large-scale commodity clusters, many perceive mainframe's as antiquated and irrelevant - which couldn't be further from the truth. Mainframe computers are as important to IT infrastructures today as ever, and it's time to dispel a few myths.

1. The mainframe is dead, or at least nearly so.

Wrong: Mobile users complete about 37 transactions a day, and 91 percent of their apps interact with a mainframe. Almost every transaction related to processing a credit card payment, shipping, and making airline reservations includes at least one mainframe interaction. Most create multiple interactions. Every time I use my smartphone or tablet to buy something, the app touches a mainframe for payment processing and shipping. Ironically, the more mobile you are, the more you interact with a mainframe.

2. Companies save money by replacing mainframes with a cloud-computing or large-scale cluster infrastructure.

Wrong: A multi-year study revealed that in 18 of 19 industry sectors, organisations that relied primarily on mainframes for their business growth averaged more income per dollar of IT infrastructure cost than peers relying primarily on commodity servers. The organisations relying on mainframes averaged 35 percent lower overall IT infrastructure costs compared to those relying on commodity servers.

3. The mainframe isn't a modern technology.

Wrong: IBM continues to enhance and update its mainframe with three new generations in production. More important, each new generation can process data faster to satisfy the demands of digital businesses. Today's mainframe is accessible over the internet and by mobile applications, and developers are using Java and Linux to code for it. It's also capable of processing 2.5 billion transactions a day, enabling real-time encryption of all mobile transactions at any scale as well as analytics on those transactions. This enables digital businesses to run real-time fraud detection on 100 percent of business transactions - making the mainframe quintessentially modern.

4. The mainframe isn't sexy anymore, especially to millennials.

Wrong: Many people think that managing data on a mainframe is painful, requiring an old green screen terminal for access. Administrators can now access the mainframe over the internet using smart devices, graphical interfaces and automated routines - making them every bit as fun to work on as distributed environments. In fact, more than 100 colleges and universities in North America alone offer specialised training on mainframes because of the huge demand for mainframe professionals. And many graduates are earning more and finding faster advancement because baby boomers are retiring in huge numbers every day, creating opportunities for new mainframe specialists.


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.