April 12, 2022

Mainframes are often thought of as legacy technology, conjuring up images of greenscreens filled with code. However, many of today’s enterprises, including financial institutions, rely on mainframes because of their power, reliability, and security.

According to IBM, mainframes process almost 70% of production workloads across the world. This includes workloads from:

  • 45 of the top 50 banks
  • 4 of the top 5 airlines
  • 7 of the top 10 global retailers
  • 67 of the Fortune 100 companies

All these leading organizations use the mainframe as their core platform.

Instead of abandoning the mainframe for the sake of digital transformation, companies are looking for ways to update their mainframes.

Here’s an overview of 3 ways your business can modernize your mainframe:

1) Modernizing Application Development

Application development is the bread and butter of most organizations. Applications create satisfying user and customer experiences and process critical transactions.

The IBM Application Modernization on the Mainframe study found that 93% of major companies use mainframe applications for financial management and 73% use them for customer transaction systems. However, the process of developing mainframe applications can be slow.

By adopting Red Hat OpenShift, mainframe users can simplify and accelerate the application development cycle using containers and microservices. Red Hat OpenShift has recently become available to IBM Z users, allowing them to harness the capabilities of Kubernetes to create, deploy, and deliver cloud-native applications.

Modernizing application development for IBM Z gives companies the ability to create applications for advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and superior customer experience.

2) Using As-a-Service Offerings

One of the biggest barriers to mainframe modernization is the growing skills gap. Many mainframe experts are aging out, leaving companies with a lack of systems engineering and application development expertise. Mainframe as-a-service offerings are one way to bridge the skills gap while making the mainframe relevant.

IBM has expressed its ongoing commitment to the mainframe by planning to offer IBM Z as-a-service on the cloud for DevOps. IBM Z as-a-service will help mainframe users further their efforts to modernize the process of application development and testing by allowing them to leverage z/OS in the public cloud. Companies will be able to spin up z/OS DevTest environments quickly for greater agility in application development.

Another as-a-service option for companies that use mainframes is infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). With IaaS, mainframe users can host their mainframes in shared or dedicated server space. An IaaS provider can deliver mainframe management, maintenance, backup, and disaster recovery.

3) Integrating the Mainframe With Hybrid Cloud

Some mainframe users may think that they need to choose between the mainframe and the cloud when modernizing their IT infrastructure. IBM emphasizes that the mainframe and the cloud are not an either/or proposition. Instead, the mainframe can be integrated with the cloud, particularly hybrid cloud. The mainframe may be more appropriate for some systems and workloads because of its power and security, while the cloud may work better for other types of functions.

Developing cloud-native applications is one way to integrate the cloud with the mainframe. IBM anticipated that the percentage of companies using mainframe assets in a hybrid cloud environment will double within 3 years.

Make the Mainframe Part of Digital Transformation

Progressing along your digital transformation journey doesn’t mean you need to scrap your mainframe. Working with the right technology provider can supply you with the expertise you need to take your mainframe into the future.

As the only IBM Premier Partner devoted entirely to the mainframe, PSR has the tools and systems engineering know-how required to help you leverage mainframe IaaS and other modernization efforts, including Red Hat OpenShift for IBM Z.