According to Forrester, 64% of new projects will rely on the mainframe in 2019. The mainframe’s dead has been foreseen for a long time, but the fact is that most of the corporate critical systems are still running on it.
The main reason behind is the scalability of mainframe’s database and the reliability of the system.
Transactional relational databases do not scale horizontally, so the most straightforward solution has been to find the biggest possible server; in other words, the mainframe. Full ACID is not an option for most of these businesses: i.e., banks cannot rely on eventual transactionality: a transfer between two accounts must be done in both at the same time, or not done. Partial situations can create costly and noisy circumstances, overall in a business based exclusively on confidence.
On the other hand, their high stability and reliability enable these machines to run uninterruptedly for very long periods, with mean-time between failures (MTBF) measured in decades.
However, this long-time dependence has created a considerable number of problems:
- Cost: MIPS costs up to $5,000/year, and the mainframe operating costs can represent up to 40% of the total IT budget in an average company. Additionally, the enterprise has a difficult negotiating position with suppliers due to the low number of providers and the strong dependence from them.
- Skills Availability: According to Forrester, although the demand for mainframe profiles is still increasing, skilled mainframe professionals continue to decline. New talent is focused on new languages coders, and a shortage of mainframe workers is forming. Their survey found:o Onaverage,firmsreportlosing23%oftheirmainframeworkforceinthe last five years.o Ofthatlostheadcount,63%remainsunfilled.
- Friction for Digital transformation: Organizations’ change pace is increasing. The importance and volume of data are growing. The capacity to process all this informationinreal-timeiswherethecompetitiveadvantageis. Newapplication based on mobile, web, social, or IoT creates high-rate data streams that create a challenge for the mainframe: High costs but also to cohabit together old and slow waterfall mainframe development with fast and agile application development.
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