Enterprising Developments

Big Iron is Hot

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, October 22, 2010

IBM just released its latest quarterly numbers, and being the largest bellwether of the information technology world, things are looking up. And a really interesting piece of the news is the fact that mainframe sales are soaring. Big Blue reports that revenues from System z mainframe server products increased 15% compared with the year-ago period. Total delivery of System z computing power, as measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), increased 54%. 

The insurance industry continues to rely heavily on mainframe computer power, and it's no secret that industry IT and vendor executives alike have been involved in years of study and debate, trying to determine when and where insurers need to jump off, into the distributed systems world.

Perhaps rumors of the mainframe's death are a bit premature.

In fact, Wall Street seems to be very happy with the resurgence of mainframe power. There even seems to even be a touch of irrational exuberance toward the big box. A report from Reuters describes how IBM has spent the past decade shifting away from hardware to software and services, but lately, it's the venerable mainframe delivering the big sales. Analysts are impressed by the response to System z, and it's ability to process vast amounts of data and financial transactions.

Part of the reason mainframes are so popular again is their ability to scale to the growing requirements of cloud computing. The mainframe is seen as key to the growing movement to cloud computing, especially “private clouds” supported within enterprises.

CA Technologies just issued the results of a survey of 300 European corporations, which finds that close to 80% of respondents “believe the mainframe will be an integral part of their cloud computing strategies.” Top qualities associated with mainframes include reliability (55%), its position as an established technology (52%), platform cost-effectiveness (48%) and IT attitudes toward change (40%).

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (2)

if money is not an issue mainframes are great. but they are expensive. we converted to microsoft platform and saved 1/2 million dollar/year.

Posted by: vkhachaturian | October 29, 2010 12:37 PM

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I'm getting confused about where the cut is between Mainframe Servers and Network Servers. Is it just that the Operating systems are different? Maybe capacity for more storage at a central location?

Posted by: C Sandman | October 29, 2010 10:57 AM

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