Will Cloud DevOps Re-Energize ‘Big Iron’?
Oct05

Will Cloud DevOps Re-Energize ‘Big Iron’?

Not only has ‘Big Iron’ shrugged off its naysayers — suffering neither Monty Python’s ‘flesh wounds’ nor Mark Twain’s ‘reports of my death’ — the mainframe appears to be poised for a renaissance, one that software developer Compuware hopes to accelerate with its recent DevOps announcement for Amazon’s popular AWS cloud platform. “We’ve made Topaz [its flagship solution for mainframe Agile/DevOps] into what customers are evaluating and incorporating as a force multiplier,” said CEO Chris O’Malley. “The next step is bringing Topaz to AWS,” he told IT Trends & Analysis, accelerating DevOps availability to “minutes instead of months. In some cases, it can take more than a year for competitive products.” The mainframe, or at least IBM’s version, has been a staple of IT for more than 50 years, and it shows no signs of disappearing. The numbers speak for themselves: 55% of enterprise apps need the mainframe; 70% of enterprise transactions touch a mainframe; and, 70-80% of the world’s corporate data resides on a mainframe. However the installed base appeared to be shrinking as newer, less-costly alternatives proliferated. Annual mainframe system sales have declined from a high of about $4 billion earlier this decade to $2 billion in 2016, accounting for just 3% of IBM’s total revenue (although the associated hardware, software and technical services accounted for nearly 25% of IBM’s sales and 40% of its overall profit last year). Apparently Big Iron is back in vogue. According to a new study, the global mainframe market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 2.58% between 2017-2021. In March it was reported that mainframes had reached an inflection point where they will either continue as a revenue-supporting mechanism or evolve into a revenue-generating platform. “IDC believes that the mainframe has a central role in digital transformation; businesses that do not take advantage of its broad range of capabilities are giving up value and, potentially, competitive advantage,” the research company stated. ‘The mainframe is not going away, but the way that you use it will change,’ noted Robert Stroud, Principal Analyst, Forrester, in a blog entitled DevOps And The Mainframe, A Perfect Match?. ‘Containers and microservices are coming to every platform, including the mainframe. Gradually breaking large monolithic applications into smaller services will help you transition to a containerized future that promises faster application delivery, greater scalability, and better manageability – regardless of the platform.’ A month ago IBM refreshed its z series mainframes with the LinuxONE Emperor II. “LinuxONE is a highly engineered platform with unique security, data privacy and regulatory compliance capabilities that doesn’t require any changes to developer or open source code, combined with...

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