As IBM celebrates the Mainframe at 50 and announces a raft of new products, there is a lot for existing IBM mainframe customers to be happy about, irrespective of what mainframe they have. Some of the new features IBM has announced will only apply to those who have a zEC12 or zBC12 but that is only to be expected, as these are the current flagship models that IBM is shipping.

Underneath all the shiny announcements however, there are some issues that IBM needs to do a better job of articulating. It has started the process of working with SoftLayer to get the Linux on System z into their data centres. But the longer it takes for SoftLayer to offer cloud services on the mainframe, the greater the risk of IBM losing deals to Managed Service Providers and Cloud Service Providers who will wonder if there is something they are missing.

There is also an increasingly urgent need for IBM to offer clarity over the breakeven point of delivering cloud on mainframe vs x86 and public cloud. At present, IBM has been resistant to publishing the detail of how it arrives at its figures and what products are used to create the comparative pricing. With the current cloud pricing wars, it will also need to keep updating where the breakeven point sits.

Overall though there are still five solid reasons why the IBM mainframe should still be considered for delivering business value and growth, support for broader application scope and operational performance:

  • Established technology with proven success
  • Significant continued investment and evolution
  • A progressive and relevant future for the new generation of workloads
  • Consistent foundational support for IBM’s driving pillars for Cloud, mobile, security, big data and analytics
  • An established ecosystems of partners and ISVs with a growing new client base