The digital enterprise operates in an always-on multi-cloud world, where flexibility is key. Mainframes are an integral part of this architectural vision.
To that end, CA Technologies, as part of our membership in the Open Mainframe Project, engaged in a study, entitled 2018 State of the Open Mainframe Survey Report, which sought to understand buyers’ perceptions of the mainframe–and more specifically Linux–including the future of the platform, common myths, and barriers to success.
Despite the changing nature of the always-on digital world, the mainframe remains a consistently reliable, scalable, and secure platform; and it stacks up. As noted in the report, “The Linux kernel powers everything from IoT devices to the highest performing supercomputers. Linux Foundation research reveals that, as of 2017, the Linux operating system runs 90 percent of the public cloud workload, has 62 percent of the embedded market share, and 99 percent of the supercomputer market share.” Not too shabby.
To start, where does the mainframe fit in the grand scheme of things? There is plenty of chatter about multi-cloud, hybrid and private cloud infrastructures, but that is not to say that the platform is being edged out. At the end of the day, organizations look to put the right workloads on the right platform, and increasingly hybrid cloud is becoming the preferred architecture to drive innovation.
In fact, mainframes fit right into the hybrid and private cloud infrastructure dynamic with the vast majority of survey respondents considering the cloud an augmentation to, and not a replacement for, the mainframe. The consensus on the subject is that a cloud environment is neither as securable nor as great a value for the cost as the mainframe. Ideally, businesses should leverage the best of both computing worlds–drawing upon their strengths and supplementing their weaknesses–to optimize their systems and achieve digital transformation.
Speaking of current trends: DevOps is successfully being deployed on mainframe systems, and according to the Open Mainframe Project survey, zOS and Linux/X86 are the most widely used platforms for workload deployment, making them an integral part of the entire DevOps movement. Keeping up with the current industry standard for continuous development, deployment and testing requires systems and processes that run on an ongoing basis as opposed to the traditional model–a linear sequential system which leads to both bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
The mainframe is no different in this sense; to maintain its place as a leading platform for power computing and data management it must adopt modern methodologies for high performance and speed… and it has! The caveat here is, though it can and is being implemented, it remains an untapped opportunity for Linux on Z, and this is in part due to a lack of knowledge pushed by misconceptions of applicability. Enterprises can gain a significant competitive advantage by instilling a DevOps culture in both their open source and mainframe Dev and Ops teams. After all, culture cannot be fostered in isolation. It must be thought of as a cross-enterprise initiative, and this means, incorporating all components of your IT infrastructure into the process.
The industry is clearly shifting its focus, empowering teams to move through the development lifecycle with increasing agility, flexibility, and autonomy. The reality is, consumers everywhere are demanding more autonomy in today’s service culture… and at a lower cost. The Open Mainframe Project study found that economics was the number one factor in evaluating platforms. A pay-as-you-go consumption model is the “next big thing” to change the way we exchange and interact in the digital economy, and this includes IT products and computing costs.
The advent of mainframe as a service is no longer a buyer’s pipe dream, but a serious expectation. And it has the ability to drastically change the future of the mainframe, eliminating many of the challenges facing developers, and enabling businesses to run mission-essential workloads in a cloud environment and gain access to the latest mainframe technology and expertise, all while shifting from a capital-expense to operating-expense model.
Connecting the open source and mainframe worlds through a service-based model will bring with it new workflows, more possibilities and greater innovation.
Technology, like anything else, is subject to its own manifestations of the truth. In the end, however, the mainframe–despite common myths–is neither static nor obsolete. CA Technologies, and the greater mainframe community, are pursuing ongoing advancements in the mainframe space with a focus on advanced analytics and data-driven machine learning, regulatory compliance cross-platform, service-based modeling and seamless cloud integration. The modernization of the mainframe will herald a new age for the “big iron”. And we are excited to see how the mainframe will continue to impact the world of technology today, and in the future.
But, don’t just take my word for it. Read the results from the 2018 State of the Open Mainframe Survey Report, and find out what buyers really think about the mainframe.