The future of the mainframe has been the subject of speculation and discussion for many years. Some companies are happy with what it provides and are satisfied that their infrastructure will continue to support it for years to come. Others see it as a dead weight, inflexible and unable to cope with the new digital age.
Whatever perspective a company has, the fact remains that in many organisations it is fundamental to the day-to-day operation of the business. For example:
- 71 Percent of Fortune 500 Companies Use Mainframes; more specifically, IBM Z systems
- Mainframes handle 87 percent of all credit card transactions. If you buy something with a Visa© or MasterCard© a mainframe probably made it possible
- According to IBM, mainframes handle 68 percent of the world’s production IT workloads, yet they account for only 6 percent of IT costs
- An IBM z13 system can support up to 10 terabytes of memory or 10,000 gigabytes, which is over 600 times larger than the average personal computer!
- They handle 30 billion business transactions each day. That includes credit card payments, stock trades, and other business-critical transactions
- Currently 92 of the world’s top 100 banks continue to use mainframes. Although many see the cloud as the future, and x86 servers as cheap, when you are a bank with millions of transactions to process each day, and ultra-tight security needs, nothing beats the mainframe
The lack of investment in mainframe resources in many companies has led to a severe depletion in capable, qualified staff. The answer to this for many has been to look to outsource companies to handle their mainframe estate. This in itself has proven problematic in that that many of these companies operate offshore, and similarly lack any degree of experienced resource. As a result it often leads to the company committing to a complete service model which is often far in excess of what they need. In turn, the outsourcer has to invest in training its own people or trying to hire them from others, compounding the problem.
Our approach to these issues provides companies with a variety of alternatives. We are able to support requirements ranging from a single program change, short-term support in the event of absence or retirement, training and documentation, software upgrades or a full systems’ team. Many of our resources are all experienced and highly skilled experts with many years’ experience. Alongside these highly experienced senior people, we have a continuity plan where younger, newer staff members are fully trained in all aspects of the mainframe, which enables us to continue our customer commitments for many years to come. This means we can maintain a high degree of continuity without the risk of losing experienced staff to retirement. We are also able to avoid many of the issues encountered when working with offshore companies who have people with very basic knowledge acquired on training courses but no “real world” experience. All our resources come from mainframe backgrounds and are supported and managed by staff with knowledge acquired over many years in the mainframe environment.