Despite misconceptions around decreasing mainframe usage, as emphasis on the cloud increases, we’ve seen a strong momentum of growth in IBM zSystem workloads and know that core applications still matter.
A whopping 67% of North American enterprise infrastructure technology decision-makers use mainframes. In Forrester’s survey of the financial services sector, the usage of the mainframe continues to increase, and firms are actively modernizing their applications to increase workloads on the platform. Of those surveyed by Forrester, an impressive 87% believe the mainframe has long-term viability as a strategic platform.
IBM addresses the challenges
To address customers’ challenges around leveraging existing IT investments, IBM introduced the “IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center”—a definitive portfolio for modernization of IBM zSystems-based enterprise applications and data. Software AG is proud to be one of the inaugural technology partners to join the ecosystem. IBM has been continuously investing and innovating their mainframe platform to break all the myths and false assumptions around mainframe’s relevance in today’s cloud environment.
On April 5th, IBM announced IBM® z16™, its latest enterprise server that delivers breakthrough technologies for AI and cyber resiliency to accelerate decision velocity, protect against threats across your business, and modernize your IT infrastructure for hybrid cloud. It accelerates transformation by simplifying hybrid cloud adoption, modernizing applications and keeping data safe, encrypted and resilient.
The cloud may be seeking to dominate the landscape. But the mainframe is a mainstay. The stats are humbling, with mainframes in use by:
The ten largest insurers in the world
92 of the world’s top 100 banks
18 out of the top 25 retailers
70% of Fortune 500 companies.
It’s no surprise that cloud hyperscalers are trying to move in on the mainframe market, according to IT Business Edge. But, before your business reacts to cloud opportunity, you should consider how to keep using the mainframe where it shines—namely for running mission-critical applications with unmatched security and reliability.
A series of sustained outages on Amazon Web Services in December 2021 really drove home that point. The cascading disruption hit Netflix, Slack, and Robinhood, among additional services, representing an entertainment inconvenience for some, and major security and financial losses for others.
That’s not to say this is a story about cloud vs. mainframe. The goal should be to build and maintain a hybrid infrastructure where mainframe and cloud work together to achieve the best of both worlds. Leveraging a hybrid cloud (a combination of on-premises infrastructure, private cloud, and/or public cloud) with IBM zSystems will provide up to 2.5 times the value of a purely public cloud approach.
The applications still in use on the mainframe are irreplaceable. The decades of data stored within mainframe databases are invaluable. Hybrid clouds protect your most valuable data and applications with unbeatable reliability and security on one hand, and fast-moving agility and flexibility on the other.
Standards such as application programming interfaces (APIs) and structured query language (SQL), together with a host of smart technologies, enables a rapid and smooth transition to a hybrid cloud. This provides a much better alternative to a high-cost, high-risk rip & replace approach.
As Forrester notes, most surveyed leaders (73%) said their organizations transform “existing core applications through modularizing with APIs.” Not only can you reuse your mainframe functionality by becoming an API provider, but you can also enrich your mainframe application functionality by consuming APIs from other sources.
To keep your mainframe systems running, finding “talent isn’t as problematic as you think,” points out Forrester in Tackle the Overwhelming Challenge of Mainframe Modernization. With better options available today to integrate and extend core applications as well as modern development and automation tools that work well with the mainframe, new developers are easier to recruit.
Adopting DevOps for the mainframe is a well-placed strategy for reducing your reliance on a retiring workforce. Tools such as Eclipse, Git, and Jenkins—familiar to DevOps pros and students alike—are now being commonly used and accessible for mainframe application development. Take for example, Software AG’s NaturalONE Eclipse-based environment. Developers can modernize applications without restructuring the source code and it’s easy to integrate with open-source and commercial DevOps tools covering all aspects in planning, coding, building, testing, deploying and operating applications—all in a more automated, iterative, controlled, and transparent way.
Software AG and IBM z16
Software AG and IBM have a long history of helping customers support their businesses with increased agility. IBM z16 is a great example of how the IBM zSystems can innovate for the future while ensuring their existing operations, products, and services continue to meet customer demands. Software AG’s commitment to continuous innovation for Adabas & Natural as well as modernization of COBOL applications and mainframe data with its API-led mainframe integration solutions ensures users can take advantage of the latest features of the IBM zSystems.
Software AG is a proud partner to IBM and a leader in digital transformation. We were excited to join the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center to help IBM zSystems clients accelerate the modernization of their applications, data and processes in an open hybrid cloud architecture.
Software AG’s mainframe integration solutions, webMethods and CONNX, knock down the barriers to mainframe modernization by using APIs and SQL to connect mainframe applications and data to the cloud, quickly and non-invasively.
With IBM and Software AG innovations, you can rest assured that mainframe applications are here to stay … and play an active role in the hybrid cloud.