The value of a second: How mainframes save uptime, security, and gobs of money

January 26, 2022
Time is precious.
Think about the importance of a single second in sports. In F1 racing, the average pit stop is just 2-3 seconds. The driver and crew know that getting the car in and out that quickly is what it takes to beat the competition to the checkered flag. How many basketball games or other sports competitions come down to a critical moment that makes all the difference. Queue the half court “buzzer beater,” last-second “Hail Mary” touchdown, or “photo finish” at the Kentucky Derby. Clearly, time matters!
Now, in sports, even those who lose on any given day typically have another chance or another season to get that victory. But what if next time isn't an option? In the business world, coming up short may not just be the game, it may be the end.
In the world of business, time is money and every second counts. Literally. You can put a dollar value on time, right down to the second.
During the Super Bowl, the average cost of a second can be more than $200,000 where 30 second TV commercials fetch as much as $6 million. Each tick of the clock equates to dollars. That’s a lot of money. But there’s another example that values a second by nearly twice as much.
Visa, the world’s largest card payment company, processes over 70,000 transactions every second with an estimated annual payment volume of nearly $10 trillion. For Visa, the cost of a second is over $300,000.
What, then, does Visa use to process that many transactions and to safeguard those highly valuable seconds? For Visa, the modern mainframe is part of the tried and true answer. In fact, Visa has been up and running without a single hiccup for the last 20 years.


With so much at stake, it only makes sense that today’s leading organizations work to make the most of every second of every day. Consider the cost of downtime and the impact of every second that your business isn’t up and running. For Fortune 1000 companies, that cost is upwards of $278 per second, $16,000 a minute, and over $1 million per hour. This toll can be much higher in certain industries like financial services which can exceed $8 million per hour.
On top of costly downtime, how about the cost of every second a hacker goes undetected in your system? With the average security breach now reaching $4.2 million per incident, it takes just a second or two for hackers to compromise your data, credibility, and brand image. In that way, measuring time is not enough. You must also protect it.

The cost of scenarios like these and others can add up quickly, impacting the bottom line in a big way.
Take Amazon, where every tenth of a second of latency results in a 1% loss of sales. Over the course of a year, that's $1.3B dollars lost. On the flip side, for Walmart, seizing an opportunity to increase transaction speed by a single second can improve conversions by 2%. This translates to an additional $274 million in revenue per year.
Now, since time is money, then saving time not only saves you money, but can also make you money. In our experience, today’s leading organizations use mainframe to do both. They treat the mainframe as a strategic asset instead of a cost center. For Broadcom Mainframe Software, we’re focused on working with organizations and providing the tools they need to take advantage of every second so they can get the most value from their mainframe and hybrid cloud investments.
We partner side by side with them so they can embrace modern DevOps practices that improve developer productivity and shift time spent on manual activities towards coding and developing new features or innovative capabilities. With our partnership and vision, these organizations are adopting AIOps and combining artificial intelligence with domain expertise to speed discovery, diagnosis, remediation, and even prevent issues from ever happening in the first place. And we’re helping them integrate the mainframe into their enterprise-wide “zero trust” security model to speed threat detection and prevention.
Returning to the sports world, Broadcom likes to think of itself as the “pit crew” for the world’s most enduring computer (the mainframe). In both Formula One and NASCAR, the pit crew is often regarded as “the hidden athlete of car racing.” As in sports and business, a single second can make all the difference to whether a team wins or loses. Or whether a business grows or flounders.
That’s why many of the world’s leading companies turn to us. We help them save time, which in turn helps them generate both money and competitive advantage.
I get it. The mainframe is easy to overlook. It’s bedrock technology that’s been with us since NASA first used it to put a man on the moon. Since then, it has continually evolved and continues to effectively power much of our everyday lives. It’s not automatic, though. It takes work, expertise and the right partner to keep this technology up and running and to make the most of it every second of every day.
My name is Jeff Henry, head of product strategy and a “pit crew” member at Broadcom Mainframe Software. How can we help you make the most of every second?
Connect with me or any other member of our Mainframe Software pit crew here.

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