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

Opinion: Halbig Decision Creates New Level of Uncertainty for Obamacare

Time will tell if the Halbig decision remains viable. But in the meantime, a new level of uncertainty has been injected into the process.

CIOs: "We Don't Have Enough People to Run Our Mainframes"

Insurers will be competing with other industries for both legacy and “new IT" talent.

4 Ways to Keep Insurance Data Quality Healthy

Continually building trust and credibility in the data is the key to a successful data warehouse.

Customer Experience Trend Watch

Three recent HR moves demonstrate that large life insurers recognize customer experience as a strategic differentiator.

Insurers Have a Lot of Data, But Too Many Silos

Insurers actually have more data analytics resources than other industries.

Are Data Centers Shrinking or Expanding?

Today's data centers are doing far more with much smaller footprints.

Advertisement

Advertisement