2015 was a great year for the mainframe business—and that was great news for large IT organizations running mainframe systems, as well as the companies that support these business sectors. The old myth that the mainframe is dead was countered by IBM with the launch of z13— the most powerful (designed to handle billions of transactions for the mobile economy), the most secure (with real-time encryption), the most cloud-ready, and the most big data analytics ready (embedded analytics capability) business system ever. This new system brings the mainframe back to center stage for those organizations that have been thinking about leaving mainframe because ‘mainframe applications are hard to modernize for new environments, especially mobile’ as Scott Fayden so eloquently mentioned in his article, Three Reasons the Mainframe is in Trouble: Not so Fast! This is important, as mobile will be a critical growth area, as Matt Ritter from PreInvented Wheel discusses in his piece on innovation trends.
This past spring, IBM further aided existing customers with the announcement of several new pricing models such as Country Multiplex Pricing (CMP) and z Systems Collocated Application Pricing (zCAP) to streamline and reduce the openly critiqued Monthly License Charge. This move allows existing customers to handle more workloads at a lower cost.
At about the same time, IBM also announced the LinuxONE series— the Linux-only mainframe server— to tempt the distributed users with a taste of mainframe. The LinuxONE Emperor is the high-end system that can scale up to 8,000 virtual machines or thousands of containers; LinuxONE Rockhopper is a mini-mainframe with the same security, availability and high-processing power.
All in all, IBM has made tremendous gains with the mainframe in 2015, and the numbers shows it. By Q2, revenue from their mainframe business more than doubled from previous year and revenue continued to grow in Q3 by 15 percent year over year.
IBM has set a great platform for continual growth in 2016 for the mainframe as it continues to innovate in areas of analytics, cloud mobility and security.
Analysts like IDC and Gartner have both published their forecast for 2016 with disruptive forces such as Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things dominating IT trends. The mainframe is well positioned to help customers manage both, and to continue to make strides in the Mobile and Cloud landscapes. While the mainframe is a high processing powerhouse, companies should also consider methods to optimize their data performance as much as possible as more workloads, especially mobile workloads power the growth of the mobile application economy. And as CEO of a mainframe software company, I look forward to what 2016 will bring to the mainframe community of customers, vendors, partners and consultants.