(3-Jun-11) Enterprise mainframes have been around since as early as the 1950s, and most industry analysts agree that mainframes will probably always be around in select enterprises for specific purposes. But some enterprises have begun moving toward mixed environments, while others have decided to transition away from mainframes altogether. So how can your enterprise best transition away from mainframes if necessary? Where do you start? On the other hand, if you’ll likely always have a mainframe around for certain tasks, how do you incorporate it into a mixed environment?
Darin Stahl, lead analyst with Info- Tech Research Group, says traditionally, the mainframe is a very robust platform with legendary reliability and security. Stahl elaborates, “Mainframes can be found in a couple of environments, obviously big environments or legacy environments, usually in financial services, insurance companies, smaller banks, or big consumers. Mainframes are also used in local government, state government, and municipalities.”
Stahl says mainframes have unique characteristics around batch needs and processing real-time transactions online. He says on a regular basis, mainframes have to do regulatory runs, compliance work, and statement printing, and he says they do all of this much better in “batch mode.” He adds, “As a result, many mainframe shops have mixed platforms, because nobody is pure anything anymore. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pure Windows shop except in the smallest of small enterprises.” He says what happens is that many applications align with business needs and customer needs, and they end up tying those things together.