Thursday, July 23, 2009

What you probably don’t know about the Mainframe.

Recently I had lunch with an old friend and colleague from my StorageTek days, Fred Moore. As our conversation exhausted the traditional catch-up topics we touched on the modern role of the mainframe and in response to my somewhat lukewarm reaction to the future of mainframe Fred was quick to disabused me of my open systems prejudices.

To support his position and to highlight what is happening in the mainframe world Fred complied the following factoids from a number of sources including. The Mainframe Executive Journal and zJournal.

· The mainframe has 100 new ISVs and over 1,400 ISVs working on mainframe-based solutions. today, 125 new Linux apps for System z, and more than 3,000 apps for z/OS 1.7 or higher. These numbers are a little dated but impressive none-the-less.

· IBM now has more than 130 business partners and Systems Integrators WW.

· Mainframes have 35%+ of the high-end server market revenues.

· 500 customers added to the mainframe, 2000 to 2008 - on average one new customer per week adopts a mainframe.

· The install base includes. the top 50 worldwide banks: 22 of the top 25 US retailers and 6 of the top 10 global insurance providers.

· An estimated 8,000-9,000 mainframe footprints exist worldwide. To put in perspective over 50 million x86/x84 servers were sold in the past 10 years.

· CAGR of z specialty high-performance engines; zAAP=91%, zIIP=159% - mainly from the ISVs
· 60% of new MIPS capacity since 2000 is for new workloads to the mainframe. So much for the legacy app argument.

· China, Brazil, Russia and India are adapting to the mainframe to meet growth & new businesses. IBM plans to grow Mainframe revenues in emerging countries from 17% to over 30%. Is there a message here ?

· Installed mainframe MIPS grew six-fold from 2Q 1997 to 2Q 2007.

· The z10 is the 10th generation of CMOS based mainframes beginning in the early 1990s.

· According to IBM the Mainframe has an outstanding server consolidation advantage. Example given is where Intel Servers have been heavily consolidated; customers report 80% energy reduction, 85% reduction in floor space, and 80% reduction in labor costs. One quad-core processor can do the work of 30 x86 cores.
Have you ever thought of the Mainframe as a green solution!

· There are 20,000 error checkers built into the z10 quad-core chip making it the most advanced server uptime enhancement in over 10 years hence the comments the mainframe hardware is approaching the (...99.9999%) six-nines availability level.

With those proof points and with my apologies to Mark Twain, I am left with the opinion that “the reported death of the mainframe has been greatly exaggerated”.

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