Mainframe Modernization: Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

Mainframes still matter today. According to IBM, 45 of the world’s top 50 banks run on IBM zSystems. Furthermore, mainframes are used by 71% of…

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Que Mangus

January 19, 20244 minute read

Mainframes still matter today. According to IBM, 45 of the world’s top 50 banks run on IBM zSystems. Furthermore, mainframes are used by 71% of Fortune 500 companies – handling 68% of the world’s production IT workloads and processing 90% of all credit card transactions.

While these high-performance computers can process up to 1 trillion web transactions daily with the highest levels of security and reliability, there is pressure to modernize. Latest software architecture such as microservices bring new benefits in terms of internet scalability, high application quality, and fast time to market. The cloud offers great benefits in scaling operations to demand and connect with new technologies like generative AI and large language models (LLMs).  

The question for mainframe users is whether to keep applications on the mainframe or to modernize and move the applications to the cloud. Despite having reliable and high value mainframe applications, the urgency to modernize will help enable organizations to: 

  • Control or lower total cost of ownership (TCO) against rising mainframe maintenance costs   
  • Maintain or improve service levels 
  • Address skills and business continuity challenges   
  • Respond fast to market changes and deliver value rapidly  
  • Modernize to enable innovation and accelerate business’s digital transformation  
  • Exploit the new opportunities that cloud and hybrid IT have to offer 

OpenText Enterprise Suite can help enterprises on their modernization journey to participate in open cloud native computing. The solution offers a comprehensive and flexible analysis, development, test, and multi-platform deployment solutions.  

Webinar and Analyst Report: Experts Explore Modernization Options 

Open and modern systems can tap into new technologies such as latest AI. But how does an enterprise make the decision to stay on the mainframe or move? What are the options and the risks?  

To explore these questions, OpenText’s Scot Nielsen, Director of Product Management, Application Modernization, and Michael Azoff, Chief Analyst, Omdia, recently discussed modernization options by addressing customer needs through four major use cases:  

Application remains on the mainframe: 

  • Keep the applications on the mainframe but exploit the latest development tools to build applications, putting the application back on the mainframe. 
  • Application testing can be time consuming and run up expensive time on the mainframe, so testing is performed off the mainframe. 

Mainframe re-platforming: 

  • Applications are moved off the mainframe and onto OpenText Enterprise Server. At this point the application can remain as is, but the surrounding supporting infrastructure has been transformed, and applications run on commodity boxes (so lower TCO) but with resiliency and scalability added. This option allows some cloud native computing technologies to be used such as containerization. 
  • Re-platforming to Enterprise Server is also the gateway to complete re-architecting of the application, say from COBOL to Java, and migration to the cloud.

Showcasing Customer Examples  

Of the several customer modernization examples shared, OpenText customer AG Insurance, is highlighted for its large-scale mainframe modernization project using OpenText’s Enterprise Suite solutions. Clear onward modernization goals saw AG Insurance achieve 75 per cent operational cost savings and faster time to market with new customer offerings. Other customer examples highlighted include Kmart Australia and consulting services provider B+B Unternehmensberatung. 

NEW! COBOL Webinar Wednesdays 2024  

Join our COBOL experts for a series of monthly webinar sessions dedicated to the community of COBOL professionals. Learn how you can build on the proven IT investments you rely on every day. Register to join > 

Join the conversations and stay updated by connecting with the OpenText Application Modernization team on LinkedIn.  

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Que Mangus

Que Mangus manages the product marketing for OpenText host connectivity solutions. Que has 14+ years of experience in software solutions marketing and received ITIL version 3 Foundation Certification in 2010. Que graduated from Utah Valley University located in Orem, UT, USA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

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