- Appreciation for the mainframe is on the rise, according to a BMC report published Thursday. The enterprise software and IT consulting firm surveyed more than 800 executive and technical professionals.
- Two-thirds of large enterprises expect on-prem to grow and attract new workloads, BMC found, up from just over half in 2019, the report found.
- Security and compliance, perennial priorities for mainframe users in the 18 years BMC has conducted the annual survey, remained the chief concerns related to mainframe use, but cost optimization was the next most important issue, cited by nearly half of respondents.
The rush to cloud delivered efficiency gains, unlocked new technological capabilities and, in many cases, ballooned IT spending. As tech leaders grapple with controlling cloud cost, the mainframe, the legacy workhorse of the enterprise tech stack, remains an attractive option for certain workloads.
The first rush toward cloud for cloud's sake brought along sticker shock, according to Andy Sealock, senior partner, advisory and transformation at consulting firm West Monroe.
“The dirty secret is, if you're running your on-premise data center efficiently at scale, the public cloud’s probably not going to hit that price point,” Sealock told CIO Dive. “If you just do a lift and shift, you're probably going to go negative, because your old legacy apps use the cloud so inefficiently.”
The cloud learning curve taught IT leaders to tighten usage controls, optimize existing deployments and rethink the value of the mainframe.
Advances in mainframe modernization and a proliferation of hybrid solutions that integrate on-prem with cloud have helped bolster mainframe use in enterprise IT.
Adoption of software development automization and ML analytics tools within on-prem ecosystems have also helped revive the mainframe’s reputation.
The use of DevOps practices increased by 12 percentage points since 2019 among respondents, to 62% from just 50%. AIOps usage reached 32% in this year’s survey, up from 25% two years ago.
To save money and improve efficiency, enterprises have turned to cloud storage for data backups, John McKenny, SVP and general manager of intelligent Z optimization and transformation at BMC, told CIO Dive.
“Traditionally, those backups were on proprietary mainframe storage,” McKenny said, but organizations are shifting to cloud, the survey found. Two in five survey respondents said their companies were considering cloud-based storage and data backup strategies.
The amount of data in mainframe ecosystems, however, continues to rise, according to BMC. Three in 5 respondents reported an increase in data volume on the platform and more than half said the number of mainframe databases in use by their organization had grown in the last year.