Mainframe Blog

BMC Mainframe Survey Insights #2: Perception is Reality

John McKenny
3 minute read
John McKenny

This is the second in a five-blog series that covers key insights from BMC’s 11th Annual Mainframe Survey of over 1,200 executives and IT professionals.

In this edition of my mainframe survey results blog series, we’ll dive into the topic of perception versus reality in regards to the mainframe and its future. Briefly put, when it comes to today’s new digital economy and the mainframe’s role, perception IS reality.

Let’s explore three of the key survey findings:

  • What’s behind the 89% who say the mainframe is a long-term viable platform?
  • Are Reducers creating their own mainframe extinction?
  • What are the MIPS forecasts and trends?

What’s behind the 89% who see the mainframe as a long-term platform?

The survey asks two very important questions each year. The first (“What is your perception of the industry-wide future of the mainframe?”) is a key indicator of respondent beliefs about the future role of the mainframe. Will it continue to grow and attract new workloads? Is it a long-term platform focused on critical legacy workloads? Or is it a non-viable platform, and should companies reduce their dependence on it?

The data has been clear over the past 11 years – the majority of respondents perceive the mainframe as having a strong future.  The percentage of respondents indicating that they believe it will grow or remain a viable legacy platform has ranged consistently between 89% and 93%.

So what does this mean? It means that companies that perceive the mainframe as a viable long-term platform for enabling digital business growth are actually adding workloads to their mainframes. And, 84% of respondents store more than 25% of their corporate data on the mainframe. Perception becomes reality.

Reducers: Management perception can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

Is leaving the mainframe really the right thing to do? For those who indicated that they planned to eliminate their mainframe, the top reason given was management perception that the platform is outdated. Now, we all know that this could not be further from the truth.

With a healthy ecosystem, innovation from vendors like BMC and Compuware, and continued investment by IBM, the mainframe has never been more relevant. In the face of the new digital economy, the platform is playing a vastly more important role than many realize. For example, the mainframe is the underpinning for our ability to surf the web and buy an item from Amazon, and for shipping that item to a friend. Also consider the mainframe’s importance in making hotel and flight reservations, or checking your bank balance multiple times each day. Its ability to provide near 100% availability and unmatched transaction volumes makes the mainframe irreplaceable for most of the industry-leading companies and organizations around the globe. Furthermore, many fast-paced, rapidly growing companies are relying heavily on the mainframe to provide the scalability they’re looking for.

So, what becomes of this management perception that the platform is outdated? This perception can lead to critical issues in determining where to run critical workloads and how to manage the need for uninterrupted service. What might these companies do with the time and money that they are spending to move off the platform, when they can easily add more workloads that support mobile access to their data at a fraction of the cost of moving off?

Most businesses today cannot move off the mainframe without pain, and in fact, many who do   move right back.

MIPS forecasts and trends – They simply are what they are

The research also asked respondents about their outlook for MIPS growth, for which the majority (80%) said they see growing or flat MIPS growth. That’s an overwhelming percentage having a perception that is very positive about the continued utility of the platform.

If you think about it, this is where perception really becomes reality. If mainframe teams believe their needs for more capacity will grow because of the digital economy’s impact on the mainframe, then they will indeed add more MIPS to their environment. This is a nice vote of confidence for the overall growth of their company, the industry they participate in, and their overall mainframe investment. This goes for all types of MIPS, including general purpose, specialty, and Linux.

Perception and reality are both positive for the mainframe

So, to conclude, we definitely see that the majority of respondents to the survey have a positive perception of the mainframe’s current state as well as its future and the expected return on further investment.

Learn more about the research results by listening to a replay of the webinar on BMC’s 11th Annual Mainframe Survey.

Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me about your own company’s perceptions of the mainframe, its growth, and its future.

Annual BMC Mainframe Survey

The 14th Annual BMC Mainframe Survey 2019 reports optimistic trends about the mainframe’s role in emerging and established businesses.
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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

John McKenny

John McKenny

As Vice President of Strategy for ZSolutions Optimization at BMC Software, John leads the Product Management and Solutions Marketing 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.