CIOs believe the mainframe is a safer bet

15 Jun 2009

The weaknesses in distributed computing environments are contributing to a resurgence in demand for mainframes, which many European CIOs believe are more secure, more scalable and perform better than distributed environments.

An independent survey of European CIOs by CA found that organisations using the mainframe as a fully connected resource within the distributed, web-enabled enterprise experience significantly greater benefits than those with a disconnected, comparatively isolated mainframe environment.

Where the mainframe is a fully connected resource, 65pc of all respondents report it to be an ‘incredibly secure environment’; 63pc state that performance levels are ‘excellent’; and 52pc say that ‘the system never goes down’.

The more the mainframe is part of an enterprise-wide technology strategy, the greater the role it plays and the greater its level of utilisation – the average amount of business-critical data administered by the mainframe among all ‘connected’ respondents is 64pc.

Some 66pc agreed that the mainframe user will soon start to suffer from a shrinking workforce if the relevant skills are not available. However, 52pc agreed that a web-enabled graphic user interface (GUI) that less experienced users could easily master would make the mainframe more attractive and help to close the skills gap.

This has led CA to conclude that the weaknesses of distributed computing environments are now fuelling the mainframe resurgence.

It said the practice of housing an application or database on a specific server proved serviceable for years, but as economic conditions deteriorate – and strict mandates around governance, compliance, security and energy efficiency intensify – IT faces a growing burden to do more with less.

And as these distributed infrastructures become too costly to maintain, IT is rediscovering the benefits of the mainframe.

“For many organisations, the mainframe remains the strategic platform of choice for the next generation of enterprise computing,” said Thomas Leitner, senior vice-president mainframe sales EMEA, CA.

“It is apparent from the survey that organisations that are recommitting to the mainframe are finding a unique mixture of manageability, reliability, scalability and security―not to mention low per-transaction costs.

“They are realising that the mainframe is the asset best equipped to handle these challenges, while still providing ample flexibility for growth and business innovation,” Leitner added.

By John Kennedy