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Maximize the Value of IBM Mainframes in My Business

Overcome resourcing challenges, reduce costs, and plot your future strategy for this platform.

  • The perception that mainframes, such as IBM’s System z, are a dying platform built on old technology is applying pressure on IT leaders to determine the future viability of this platform and whether it’s still the right fit for their organization.
  • Similarly, the high cost associated with a single mainframe creates negative perceptions and pressure to reduce those costs. Capacity-related licensing costs, in particular, have long been a sore point for IT leaders.
  • A skills shortage, particularly for advanced mainframe skills such as system programming, is a critical concern for many companies.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Support for Linux and Windows on System z, as part of a hybrid computing model, has generated renewed interest in mainframes (e.g. 80 new mainframe clients between 2010 Q3 and 2011 Q3, and 86% year-over-year MIPS growth in 2011 Q2).
  • Mainframe total cost of ownership (TCO) has historically been lower than the equivalent capacity in other platforms, such as commodity servers. The introduction of the zEnterprise 114 in 2011 at a lower price point (starts at $75K), further improves the TCO comparison. In addition, organizations are also leveraging specialty engines and sub-capacity reporting to reduce licensing costs.
  • While there is a skills shortage, there is also an abundance of training available that is helping to address that issue (for example, over 150 universities and colleges offer mainframe courses). Similarly, key vendors in the mainframe market offer training.

Impact and Result

  • If you are facing a resourcing crisis - or to prevent one - use the advice in this solution set to overcome a skills shortage.
  • Use our TCO tool to properly evaluate your mainframe’s cost effectiveness, and then follow our recommended strategies for reducing mainframe costs and leveraging the mainframe to optimize your infrastructure to also reduce overall IT costs.
  • If you’re considering moving off the mainframe, use this solution set to evaluate migrating off, using a hosting provider, or staying with the mainframe. If you choose to stay with the mainframe, follow our strategies for maximizing the value of your mainframe and keeping it viable in your organization.

Maximize the Value of IBM Mainframes in My Business Research & Tools

1. Overcome resourcing and cost challenges, and evaluate migration and hosting options for System z

Prevent a resourcing crisis, reduce costs, and determine your organization’s strategy for this platform.

2. Calculate the six-year cost of owning a System z mainframe versus alternatives

Accurately evaluate the mainframe’s cost effectiveness.

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Frank Trovato


  • Simon Spanchak, CTO, Exspans Systems Inc.
  • Adrian Bannister, President, Accelerated Outsourcing, Inc.
  • John Urban, Consultant
  • Robert Firestone, Computer Software Consultant
  • Mark McBride, Software Sales Executive, MSF&W
  • Aled Hughes, International Sales Manager, SVA GmbH
  • Mitch McCluhan, Consultant/Specialist, Legacy Consulting & Modernization Group

Search Code: 51722
Last Revised: January 17, 2012

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