Any business that’s been around for a few years knows that business trends come and go, especially when it comes to technological innovations. What’s new today will become near-obsolete in the next few months.
In an effort to keep with the times, businesses have been quick to adopt modern technologies that present clear ROI opportunities.
In this always-connected business landscape, cloud computing and cloud-based services have been the go-to solution due to the convenience and simplicity they offer.
Behind the scenes, however, a major player from decades ago still shows that it’s equally capable, if not more so, in providing the computing power modern businesses need.
Mainframe modernization is often heard in the same breath as digital transformation, and with good reason. The mainframe remains a staple for enterprises because a single mainframe is powerful enough to process 2.5 billion transactions in a single day.
Banking and eCommerce leverage this power to serve the increasing number of consumers turning to contactless payments and online transactions.
With mainframes integrated into banking and payment systems, retailers and service providers rely on the mainframe to handle 87% of credit card transactions around the world.
The “Hybrid” Mindset
In the questo to be “data-driven,” the concept of a “hybrid” system has been a topic of discussion in both business and IT circles. This hybrid mindset purports that there’s no need to rip-and-replace legacy systems as long as they serve their purpose and help address a business need.
Modernization is key in creating a computing platform that combines the best of both worlds, acknowledging that “legacy” doesn’t necessarily mean “obsolete.”
It’s no surprise that the concept of a “hybrid cloud” has also emerged, especially since most enterprises have shown no plans of letting go of the mainframe.
In fact, 50% of businesses in the US and Europe have plans of expanding their mainframe systems. A hybrid cloud environment uses a mix of on-premise servers, private cloud systems, and third-party public cloud services to create a flexible computing platform that can be customized or modified as business needs change.
This hybrid mindset, instead of putting the cloud head to head with the mainframe, has made a valid argument on the two platforms working with and complementing each other.
Choosing between the two isn’t the problem; what modern businesses need is a flexible and robust integration architecture that can take the best of each and integrate them in such a way that will make business operations more efficient and effective.
The Benefits of Mainframe Modernization
The mainframe remains relevant today because it’s able to run and manage high-value business logic, which arguably shouldn’t reside in the cloud. Through the years, the mainframe has been given the short end of the stick due to poor integration.
Mainframe modernization will innovate a tried-and-tested platform and allow it to integrate with more modern systems. Business applications, by design, aren’t static, and the mainframe should respond in kind. Below are the main benefits of modernizing the mainframe:
1. Cloud integration
Contrary to what many believe, there’s no reason why the mainframe and the cloud can’t coexist. Integrating the two allows one to leverage on the strengths of the other, allowing for the creation of a private cloud environment.
Aside from workload virtualization, the mainframe has some of the best characteristics of the cloud, including large amounts of memory and massive storage.
2. Modernization of legacy stacks
Because many critical business applications were written using COBOL code, there have been challenges related to their maintenance and technical limitations when a business begins to scale.
Mainframe modernization allows these applications to be integrated with current software and modern distributed applications by making the applications available from modern API’s.
3. Business value creation
Modernization helps provide better services to clients through cognitive automation, a process that combines AI processes like machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, and emotion recognition to emulate human intelligence and automate business processes typically performed by humans.
Modernization also helps fast-track the deployment of new applications and functionalities and improve the cycle time of business processes that not only enhance performance but also drive growth.
4. Reduced MIPS (million instructions per second) costs
One of the challenges in mainframe maintenance is the cost, which increases as the workload increases.
By allowing businesses to offload transactions into a distributed data fabric, modernization helps minimize costs related to hardware and software licensing.
5. Future-proofing and flexibility
Legacy systems would benefit from integration with more modern platforms because this allows them to be more flexible and easily scalable—and the mainframe is no exception.
Maintenance issues are addressed by using modern languages, which also reduce costs in the long run. Modernization also helps address security risks and regulatory compliance issues by providing necessary updates to the system.
The Mainframe in Today’s Landscape
The cloud services available today have their benefits, especially for more modular computing needs because it’s possible to pick only. the services and systems you need at any given time.
What many don’t realize is that most of what’s considered to be innovative and beneficial about cloud computing has actually been present for years in mainframes.
In many ways, the mainframe can be considered an “old-school cloud platform,” and it remains a powerful complement to current computing cloud systems.
It would be a mistake not to leverage the power and versatility of the mainframe as businesses continue to tackle the challenges faced on the road to a completely connected and always-online world.
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Author: Edward Huskin