Mainframe: The Essential Platform For Our Digital Future

Jan 13, 2022
IT LeadershipMainframes

The mainframe should be your go-to strategy for competitive advantage.

Credit: Getty Images

By Greg Lotko, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mainframe Software Division, Broadcom Software

The further we evolve as a digital society, the more a fundamental truth is borne out: Mainframe systems are more central to our lives and work than ever before – and not just online, but to virtually everything we do.

Almost all of us will use a credit card at some point today. Some may order a favorite coffee on their way to work. Others will go online using a laptop, smartphone, or other mobile device to purchase a new shirt or track a recent shipment. Others may check their bank balance or deposit funds at an ATM. Regardless, the odds are good that, whatever someone has planned for the course of their day, a mainframe will be at the heart of making those transactions possible. And that should come as no surprise.

Despite all the understandable talk about cloud, software innovation, and digital transformation, the simple fact is that mainframe systems run the world’s largest enterprises. It is indeed a software-defined world – a world that includes cloud AND mainframe, oftentimes with mainframe at its core.

Foundation to a connected world

Many enterprises are embracing a hybrid approach to cloud adoption, seeing it as a strategic fit for their organizations as well as a business innovation enabler. The mainframe, with its constantly accelerating transactional speed and capacity, finds itself at the heart of this movement. In a recent survey by Enterprise Management Associates, an overwhelming 87 percent of executives said they consider the mainframe an integral part of their cloud strategy, affirming the platform’s status as a “go to” system for competitive advantage.

Admittedly, 10 years ago, all this might have come as a surprise. Few IT analysts saw the longevity of the mainframe continuing. But we now find ourselves in a time when all the major analysts and industry studies agree that the mainframe is critical to modern workloads and to the imperative of connecting cloud, distributed, and hybrid environments. Mainframes are the foundation for today’s connected world. Their power, speed, and security are essential to driving business and information from and across the edge, the cloud, and the data center.

What many people still fail to realize is that, even today, 70 percent of the world’s production IT workloads are processing on mainframes. Odds are that percentage will only increase and with very good reason.

It’s all about power that produces results

It begins with super-fast processing speeds and unrivaled power. Every day enterprises are collecting data, measuring it, analyzing it, and merging it to find new patterns, new opportunities, and new threats. Throughout society, data is being generated at rates and in volumes far beyond what we saw even just a few years ago. The growth has been exponential and it’s driving the need for ever-increasing gains in processing power, speed, and analytics capabilities. Fortunately, today’s mainframes can process one trillion digital transactions a day. The workloads they process run the gamut from credit card payments, stock trades, and insurance claims to inventory queries, flight bookings, health records, and far more. Now that’s digital power!

Mainframes have traditionally been used to handle mission-critical tasks and they remain unsurpassed in that role. The platform’s continued evolution and ongoing advances have only enhanced its value and made it the foundation for an entire universe of digital business. Reliance on the platform is expanding as a result. More than 90 percent of enterprises in a recent survey identify expanding their mainframe footprint as a priority moving forward. And this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Delivering value and transformation

Mainframes deliver value even above their already considerable weight. Organizations that commit to digital transformation with a mainframe platform see six times return on investment (ROI) on every dollar they invest.

Each day the incredible volume of digital interactions makes mainframes essential to creating profitable digital businesses. Consider for a moment that every single day there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 million tweets, two billion people using Facebook, and some 5.6 billion Google searches. Many of these interactions are kicking off further transactions. Do those numbers seem overwhelming? They shouldn’t. Recall that a single mainframe sitting in a data center or colo can handle all of that and more – as many as one trillion transactions in a single day. There’s simply no other enterprise computing platform on the planet that can come close to doing the same. 

When the discussion turns to downtime and business resiliency, we often use the phrase the “five nines” of availability. Now, with the latest generation of mainframes, that availability has been extended even further – to seven nines. But more relevant is what that means in the real world. It means just 3.5 seconds per year, total, of planned and unplanned downtime. That’s truly mind-boggling and incredibly valuable in a world where every second that your business isn’t up and running can have a costly impact.

So, for enterprises looking to go increasingly digital, your strategy should absolutely include the mainframe. The workhorse behind virtually every online transaction; the foundation to our digital future.

Learn more about how Broadcom Software can help you with your enterprise strategy.

About Greg Lotko:

Greg is the General Manager and Senior Vice President for the Broadcom Mainframe Software Division, with more than 30 years of experience in application development, application outsourcing services, software development and infrastructure.