Breaking the hardware refresh cycle

Six ways mainframe as a service puts IT back in the driver’s seat.

In the debate over whether to move off the mainframe or stay, the option to stay with caveats is rarely discussed. But there is a third avenue. That avenue is cloud. Cloud economics and the proposition of cloud are what we announced at CA World 2016, with IBM and CA partnering to offer IBM zCloud Services. Now, just as with the rest of the business, cloud is not for everyone.

Some companies have too much tied up in mission essential services to move to the cloud – and have lots of possibilities that come with staying on the platform – from blockchain applications to machine learning and analytics that have the potential to transform their industries. For those whose best interests are to remain in their datacenter, IBM and CA continue to invest to offer solutions that help them get the most from this reliable, scalable and highly available platform.

For customers with fewer MIPS in use or fewer, simpler workloads, mainframe as a service can have a number of benefits.


In meeting with our customers and their teams, some of the most impactful benefits that they are seeing include:

  1. Simpler contracting and fewer contracts to manage – for example not having to manage contracts for hardware, network, software, storage and so forth
  1. Cost savings that can be realized from within their own operational budget without needing to ask a CFO for capital improvements to realize those savings
  1. Peace of mind that mainframe and its unique data security aspects are under control for HIPAA, government, financial and banking applications
  1. Optimization of usage to dollars spent, so that there is improved utilization of infrastructure spend, storage spend and more
  1. Management of the retiring mainframe workforce, which continues to put near-term pressure at all of our customers
  1. A less complicated and less resource intensive hardware refresh cycle and software maintenance cycle


I’m excited about our partnership with IBM zCloud, because for the first time it puts the power to steer some really important aspects of mainframe management – from the economics to the talent risks – back into the hands of CIO’s and IT leadership. And that’s exactly why we’re seeing so much interest in the market:

“We are excited to be transitioning to the zCloud solution in the next few months, the flexibility of the underlying infrastructure and the CA software in particular were highlights in our evaluation.” – CIO, State & Local Government System

To learn more about IBM zCloud, check out the latest at IBM Interconnect today at the session “How Can Mainframe-as-a-Service Reduce your IT Costs? Glad you Asked!” and read more about the CA service overview here.

David Stokes
David Stokes is Vice President & Business Unit Executive for CA's Mainframe business unit. David…


  • Pete Harteveld

    David – In light of CA’s inability to name the State CIO, we can certainly exclude the CIO for State of Pennsylvania since they are suing IBM for a failed $160M “rip and replace” project which ironically was to take a workload off the mainframe. I would think the State of Pennsylvania, like most rational human beings, would run away screaming from even the thought of locking into IBM’s and CA’ zCloud. Based on the “unnamed CIOs” we’ve spoken with, their perspective of zCloud seems more like an outsourcing duopoly scheme by another name, where you can check in, but you can never leave – ripe with prices that are dependably non-negotiable and relentlessly increasing.

    • Steven Dickens

      Peter, not going to insert myself in the competitive melee between CA and Compuware. On zCloud IBM is strategically investing in what we nickname zCloud globally as we see more and more clients wanting to take advantage of the mainframe’s inherent capabilities and strengths, but shift their operational model to an off-premise consumption based approach. Given what Compuware has to offer in the DevOps space and your strong commitment to the platform we would welcome Compuware with open arms on to the zCloud as we have other mainframe ISV’s over the last few months. I am about the easiest person to find on social media so I look forward to speaking soon.

  • Claire Bailey

    This article gives me flashbacks to my days as a state CTO. I’m picturing in my mind the scene when IBM and CA arrive to negotiate the renewal with a zCloud customer. This meeting is taking place a few years after the original “too good to be true” zCloud deal was signed and now, a new CIO is being confronted with “the real deal” at the time of renewal. I’m watching this customer sitting in a conference room surrounded by IBM and CA “Customer Success” representatives reviewing a renewal offer that the customer is told they can’t refuse. The customer struggles to overcome their paralyzing fear in objecting, but the duopoly of IBM and CA have their cash-cow in an escapable trap set by the original “too good to be true” zCloud deal. From here on out both IBM and CA dictate the terms and pricing on outdated, inferior products made certain by on-going cost-cutting. If a movie studio could only get Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and James Caan back together, this sad story has all the makings of a blockbuster movie, “The Cash-Cow-Father.”

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