5 Key Findings from BMC’s 2015 Mainframe Research: A Long-Term, Powerful Driver of the Digital Economy

BMC Annual Mainframe Research ResultsThis is the 10th year BMC has conducted a survey of mainframe professionals. The findings, based on feedback from more than 1,200 global respondents, confirmed what we’ve been hearing in a variety of different conversations with customers. The digital economy is making the mainframe more important than ever before.

Key Finding #1. The Biggest Drivers of Continued Mainframe Growth — Superiority of the Platform’s Security, Availability, Transaction Speed, and Centralized Data Server Capabilities

The respondents said that what drives the growth on the mainframe are the same things that are critical in today’s digital business: an IT infrastructure that is efficient, secure, adaptive, and integrated. That’s why they continue to see investment in the mainframe. The mainframe’s biggest strengths are the tremendous security advantages it provides and the high availability capabilities to service applications.

Bimodal IT Survey Responses

Other strengths include handling the tremendous volumes of new and different data that must be managed to provide digital business services and the vast transactional throughput capabilities to process billions of transactions a day effectively.

Key Finding #2. Top Competing Priorities – Optimize Costs While Increasing Availability

As in the past, mainframe customer top priorities are IT cost optimization/cost reduction and application availability. You must “keep the lights on” effectively and efficiently to have the resources available to create funding for producing new applications or those needed for ensuring 24×7 availability. With so many applications delivering more capabilities to every client, consumer, and partner, IT can’t afford any outages. Bimodal IT must focus on balancing the challenge of increased demand for more applications with the need for greater capabilities and higher availability.

Some organizations struggle to find scheduled outage times and the resources needed to perform basic maintenance on big databases. Some databases are getting so large and the transaction throughput is becoming so great that traditional database management techniques and tools available to manage them simply no longer work, causing degradation in the application performance and spikes in costs. In many cases, businesses try to offset these degradations with increases in hardware and processing capacity.

Fortunately, the BMC next-generation technology solutions for IBM® DB2® can enable companies to manage very large databases so that they are optimized without any outage to applications. Those applications can perform as efficiently as possible with the quickest possible response times without costly additional hardware upgrades.

Key Finding #3. IT Must Align and Respond to the Business to Facilitate Digital Transformation

Other top priorities focused on business/IT alignment, data recovery, and application modernization. Business/IT alignment is about being faster and more agile and responsive to the demands for new applications.

Users also expect to access more detailed data about the status of their transactions. For example, if they are tracking a retail order, a package delivery, or their banking account activity, they might have three times as much information available to them than in the past. They may be accessing this information more frequently from a mobile device. Providing this information can require pulling more data together at the same time and more often, which drives more application demands on the mainframe.

Application modernization feedback focused on extending and making applications more accessible from mobile devices, modernizing applications to provide new capabilities, delivering more functionality to the end users, and integrating more of their existing applications together.

We’ve seen zLinux usage more than double over the 10-year period of our survey, and now almost half of our clients are using zLinux. Java usage on the mainframe is growing or steady for 93 percent of respondents, driven by the development of new Java applications.

These findings underscore that the mainframe continues to play a very important role in the infrastructure environment for many companies and organizations around the world.

Key Finding #4. Maintain Service Levels While Optimizing MLC Costs
Cost reduction is a top priority and 70 percent of the respondents said that the IBM mainframe monthly license charge (MLC) costs were more than 25 percent of their total mainframe software budget while 22 percent said MLC costs were more than 50 percent of that budget.

Lowering MLC costs by reducing resource usage during peak processing intervals is a key area of BMC’s mainframe MLC cost management solutions, enabling customers to reduce MLC costs without cutting back on service delivery. They provide the visibility to identify workloads that drive peak 4-hour rolling averages (4HRA), demystify complex pricing models, automate and optimize capacity settings, and model variations to determine optimal workload and capping scenarios.

Key Finding #5. The Mainframe is a Growing Enabler for the Digital Economy and Is Stronger and More Viable than Ever
Survey results reinforce what BMC has been saying for a long time: The mainframe is a critical component of today’s application infrastructure and it is continuing to evolve and adapt to meet the new demands of the digital era. In fact, the survey shows us that for the 10th consecutive year the projected long-term viability and staying power of the mainframe has remained consistent for about 90 percent of respondents.

More applications will continue to bring together more information for the consumer. Uniting this disparate data, being able to process it very quickly, and ensuring high availability is one of the strengths of the mainframe platform and bodes well for its long-term health.

At BMC, we’re excited to offer innovative ways to help companies address their top priorities with solutions that improve application availability and optimize the performance and cost of their infrastructure.

To learn more about our mainframe research and what respondents are saying, read the survey report.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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John McKenny

John McKenny

As Vice President of Marketing and Customer Support of ZSolutions Optimization for BMC Software, John leads the go-to-market strategy and customer success teams for mainframe solutions. Prior to joining BMC in 1995, he spent 15 years in various IT technical, management, and consulting roles in the transportation and insurance industries.