Enterprising Developments

Are Mainframes Cheaper Than Outside Cloud Services?

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, August 26, 2013

At the end of last month, IBM announced a new mainframe server — the zEnterprise BC12 mainframe — which retails for only $75,000 (incredibly cheap by mainframe standards) and is intended to support private cloud computing. The system also supports Linux.

What is striking about the announcement is IBM's calculation for the cost of the system, per virtual server — as low as $1.00 per day, the vendor says. One mainframe box will run up to 520 virtual servers.

If this price point holds up, it could give public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services a run for its money. Internal mainframe power could be priced across the enterprise even more attractively as outside cloud services. For insurance companies still steeped in the mainframe and large systems world but wanting to extend more applications to cloud, this may be an alternative to consider to engaging with outside cloud providers.

Gabriel Lowy, for one, is bullish on the emerging role of the mainframe as a private cloud system. In a recent analysis in Big Data News, he points out that these larger servers have a lot of the essential components required to support cloud computing.

As Lowry puts it: “If one defines cloud as a resource that can be dynamically provisioned — allocated and de-allocated on demand — and made available with good security and management controls, then all of that functionality already exists on the mainframe. IBM is also a contributor to OpenStack, adding z/VM hypervisor and z/VM operating system APIs to the community.” The new mainframe model also supports self-provisioning, he adds.

When analyzing costs associated with energy consumption and system administration, the mainframe compared favorably to distributed architectures such as Windows or Linux on Intel-based servers, he adds. “When looking at centralized and consolidated infrastructures the question now is whether the mainframe is worthy of greater consideration than it currently receives, both if the organization already has such systems in place but also perhaps as a new investment.”

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 (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

The Software-Defined Health Insurer: Radical But Realistic?

Can a tech startup digitally assemble the pieces of a comprehensive, employer-provided health plan?

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.

Modernizing Information Management

While better reporting and actuarial analysis help to support financial decisions, improved analytics and decision making greatly assist the rest of the organization.

Strategic Planning: Here and Now

Insurers’ annual strategic planning efforts can benefit from an infusion of tactical reality.