No, mainframe is still not dead. On the contrary, 2012 will see the rise of the mainframe as a cloud platform. Massively scalable, hosting critical (and under-utilised) 'big data', capable of running complex cloud workloads on a variety of architectures (z/OS, Linux, UNIX, Windows), mainframe is really an obvious cloud platform. It will not replace commodity clouds, but large enterprises and governments especially will leverage their investments and bring "big iron" into their cloud mix.
7. Cloud goes heterogeneous
Not only will mainframe become part of the cloud landscape, but public cloud providers will also start to offer UNIX and maybe even other non-x86 platforms. I have recently seen this in action (CA did it internally years ago), and most large enterprises are heavily dependent on heterogeneous systems for their mission-critical applications. Despite the common myth that cloud equals commodity servers, heterogeneous servers will start to become more available for large enterprise deployments.
8. Not your grandfather's mainframe
Big iron concepts of integrated computing, networking, and storage are resurgent, but this is not your grandfather's mainframe. Deployment of integrated fabrics like Cisco UCS and VCE Vblock will accelerate rapidly in 2012 as IT changes the way it thinks about integrated infrastructure for virtualisation and cloud, and realises how amazing these integrated boxes are for diverse, dynamic, high-volume workloads like desktop virtualisation, pop-up data centres, and cloud bursting.
9. Cloud service management comes to the fore
In 2011, the NIST Cloud Reference Architecture devoted a whole section to 'Cloud Service Management', and IT started to talk about "grown-up" disciplines - planning, budgeting, performance, asset, inventory, service levels, audit, etc. In 2012, even 'commodity' cloud vendors will finally take cloud management seriously, as enterprises and governments demand these disciplines - and smaller providers differentiate on service and security, not just price.
10. Virtualisation management becomes irrelevant
In January 2009 I predicted, "in three to five years ... niche [Virtual System Management] vendors will no longer survive, as virtualisation becomes a core part of the enterprise compute fabric." This trend has definitely started, and will accelerate in 2012 as IT recognises that silos of standalone virtualisation management are a costly and inefficient burden and turns instead to hybrid IT management. 2012 may not be the end of virtualisation management, but it is going to be the start of the demise.
Andi Mann is vice president of strategic solutions at CA Technologies.
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