You see it all the time. People are often drawn to the latest trends, believing the "hottest" new technology on the scene will be the "end all, be all" for their business - a surefire path to success. That's usually not been the case.
When the personal computer (PC) came out, there was no shortage of people who predicted that all the servers, mainframes, and big computers were going to go away. That didn’t happen. When smartphones came out, a lot of people believed PCs would go away. That didn’t happen. And when much of the internet evolved into “cloud” computing two decades ago, some people thought on-premises systems and mainframes were gonna go away “for real this time.”
That didn’t happen either and isn’t expected to anytime soon.
The reality is, each of these technologies has continued to thrive. That’s because each of them has a place and can be used as the “right” technology for the right set of needs. As a recent Deloitte survey of 250 global executives found, “the secret to hybrid cloud success may lie in the discovery that cloud versus mainframe isn’t an either/or proposition.”
Today’s most successful companies already appear to know this. Consider that 71% of Fortune 500 companies rely on mainframes as their “core platform” to power much of their business operations, while using cloud computing and other technologies to fill in the gaps. They understand that mainframe versus cloud isn’t a choice. It’s necessary to use both in concert to offer the best customer experience.
This is why mainframes (yes, mainframes) still occupy an immensely desirable place in banking, finance, retail, travel, healthcare, government, shipping, and a plethora of other public and private enterprises as the center of their technological strategies.
Today, it’s not just organizations with a vested interest in mainframes (not to mention the people they serve -myself included) who are vouching for the platform’s ongoing importance and place in business and society. The world’s leading analysts and technology consultants are now singing the same song —noting mainframe’s continued growth and value as the world increasingly embraces a digital future.
In its report last year entitled “Mainframes Are A Critical part of Modern IT Strategies,” Deloitte concluded that “mainframe usage and investment will significantly increase over the next two years,” and “as hybrid computing grows, modern mainframe computers will continue to play a vital role and co-exist alongside multicloud computing.”
Last summer, IBM (which introduces a new mainframe every two years), published a study showing that mainframe assets are expected to increase by more than 2X over the next three years. In a similar study, IBM also found that 72% of executives intend to upgrade their mainframe for the same period.
When it comes to securely processing hundreds of thousands of business transactions each day, a recent McKinsey report found that, “Nothing is going to replace mainframes for these types of workloads.”
And in an even more recent survey by EMA, 86% of executives view the mainframe as a “competitive advantage” and “critical to the operation of their organization.” An almost equal number (87%) say it’s now “an integral part of their cloud strategy” and “will continue that role for at least another decade, if not longer.”
Need more convincing?
“Organizations that invest in mainframe modernization strategies see big paybacks that are hard to beat across the technology landscape—gaining 6x ROI,” a recent IDC study found. “Those investing in a transformation mainframe are driving almost 20% lower cost of operations, 52% faster development lifecycle, and 96% faster detection of security breaches,” the study concluded.
Another study from Rubin Worldwide estimated that, “Mainframes run 68% of the world’s production workloads at just 6% of total IT costs.”
The growing consensus and weight of evidence are why, all things considered, Accenture last year made the case for mainframe modernization over migration after encouraging enterprise companies to “reframe” their mainframes. “Despite cloud native development being touted as the new standard, abundant research demonstrates the mainframe is still a core and valuable technology,” the report found. The respected technology consultancy further concluded that “Mainframes are famously stable, secure, reliable and able to handle massive transaction volumes.”
Moving forward, it seems the real future will be won by companies who use a “best of all worlds” (aka cloud AND mainframe) approach. At Broadcom Mainframe Software, we already help many of today’s leading companies with their hybrid cloud strategies.