Mainframe remains a positive force among IT leaders

BMC’s annual mainframe survey has found that businesses continue to grow mainframe workloads. In 2016, 43% of organisations said the mainframe was attracting and growing new workloads; for 2023, this figure has risen to 63%.

Almost all of the 800 IT and business executives who took part in the survey (84%), said they had a positive perception of the mainframe, and 63% reported increased mainframe investment over the past year.

The BMC survey found that DevOps and AIOps continue to grow among mainframe users, while data volume and the number of databases continue to increase significantly.

While there was marked growth in the number of respondents citing improved IT infrastructure as the most valuable DevOps benefit to their organisation, BMC found there were indications that more work still needs to be done.

When asked what additional DevOps capabilities are needed in their organisations, the most frequent response among the IT and business leaders who took part in the survey was improvement of the developer experience. BMC reported that better development quality and efficiency were the main DevOps improvement areas among respondents. They also cited automated testing, implementation of an integrated DevOps toolchain, and using the same applications across mainframe and non-mainframe systems as top concerns.

According to BMC, overall use of artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) has stagnated across both mainframe and non-mainframe environments – but the survey found there was a jump in AIOps among respondents from 25% in 2021 to 32% in 2023.

BMC said those using AIOps cite improved uptime, the ability to detect problems quickly, and the ability to understand trends ahead of time and take action as the greatest business values delivered by AIOps. Along with these benefits, BMC said the number of respondents reporting the need for specialised skillsets, cost and complexity as implementation challenges have decreased. “AIOps appears to have reached a maturity level where organisations that may have been hesitant to adopt new practices can improve system resilience with less incurred risk,” BMC said.

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The BMC study also looked at cloud computing. It reported that connecting the mainframe to cloud-based workloads was the top priority for respondents looking to implement cloud technologies. This aligns with many organisations’ efforts to integrate the mainframe with other enterprise platforms. One of the top cloud technologies being considered for implementation is cloud-based storage and backup, which was cited by 41% of respondents.

“Our survey highlights that companies investing in modernising their application development and operations practices on the mainframe drive significantly faster innovation and achieve higher levels of resiliency,” said John McKenny, senior vice-president and general manager of intelligent Z optimisation and transformation. “As mainframe innovation continues, organisations that aren’t investing in the mainframe are putting their business and customers at significant risk.”

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