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Interview: Preparing for the longevity of mainframes

T.C. Seow | Sept. 26, 2012
Q&A with James Russell, Area Vice President, MSM Sales, Asia Pacific at BMC Software, on what businesses should look out for when considering and looking ahead into the future of mainframes.

Centralised workload automation solution
Automation has been widely viewed as a solution that improves efficiency. Fifty-two percent of respondents that use fragmented automation technologies reported two or more major issues, including critical job failures, file losses, and excessive manual intervention. BMC is committed to providing a centralised workload solution, such as Control-M, to ensure optimal productivity, prevent errors, eases compliance and improves business user satisfaction.

Q: What are your thoughts on companies that specialise in providing continued support for mainframes? Should they get out now or will they continue to thrive?

We believe that there are tremendous opportunities for businesses to continue supporting mainframes as the system adapts to the changing business landscape. For example, as more businesses move towards the cloud, integrating the mainframe architecture with the cloud is becoming a competitive necessity. When mission critical applications are moved to the cloud, the mainframe architecture provides the integrity and security for managing critical data that is accessed from other cloud enabled services in a high performance environment. This helps reduce risk and improve confidence that businesses can maintain the desired service levels while achieving cloud computing benefits. Synergy between cloud computing and the mainframe will provide the visibility for businesses to respond quickly to market changes or opportunities, ultimately driving business growth.

As mentioned earlier, there are currently no modern replacements for the mainframe. The mainframe's unique combination of security, stability, and ability to process large volumes of transactions will ensure that the mainframe's growth remains steady. The BMC survey found that 57 percent of Asia Pacific respondents believe that the mainframe platform will grow and attract new workloads. Fifty percent of respondents globally have also indicated that the mainframe platform will continue to grow.

Q: Is there a real EOL for mainframes? If there is, when will that be, and how should enterprises prepare for its demise (finally)?

On the current horizon there is no indication of an EOL for mainframes. What we will continue to see is adaptation of the platform consistent with the past 30 years to support the changing business landscape. Today's organisations run lean and senior executives are under pressure to adapt and take on new responsibilities to remain competitive. IT decision makers can no longer be satisfied with simply "keeping the IT lights on".

Regardless of whether the mainframe or any other technology has an end-of-life, we believe that businesses should focus on leveraging technology for value creation first as that will lead more naturally & effectively to TCO objectives. When considering adopting technology, there isn't a one size fits all option for businesses. In addition to focusing on value creation, businesses need to look at how the technology helps them achieve their overall business objective. These are some of the considerations for businesses as technology evolves.


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