Think before you click Hybrid Cloud Computing!

Many of you may be thinking why on earth I am even suggesting this? Hybrid Cloud offers flexibility, fault tolerance, subscription based cost models and much more. Yes, it does, but it simply does not fit everyone’s business model. Let me explain.

Many years ago, we had onsite IT Computer rooms that had static servers and other hardware mountain stockpiles. Then came the dawn of virtualisation and companies such as VMware were born that consolidated multiple servers onto bigger but fewer ones, running virtual servers in a multitenant way. Software virtualisation paved the way for a virtual server placed anywhere (with a little help from network connectivity ) and external services housed out of large data centres became normal. “So tell me something I don’t know!” I hear you all groan, however, we have not mentioned the hardware that isn’t easily moved, shouldn’t be moved and is very often misunderstood, Mainframe technology!

[easy-tweet tweet=”Software virtualisation paved the way for a virtual server placed anywhere” hashtags=”tech, cloud, IBM”]

I often write about mainframe technology, and I am a big advocate of the infrastructure for many reasons, but let’s put it into context and position this correctly before you leave this page and surf somewhere else.

1964 picture of an IBM Mainframe 704
2016 picture of an IBM Mainframe

I know what you are thinking, but this is not an advert for IBM or any other Mainframe, just a plain and straightforward way of consolidation of technology (which also happens to be a major benefit of Hybrid Cloud Computing). Mainframe technology is all about speed of transaction and scale in my opinion, and this is why most of the biggest banks, retailers, insurers and other industries utilise them. Yes, you can use inexpensive hosted resources to achieve some of these statements, but why would you if your business demands unrivalled throughput of transactions, security that’s built in at the hardware level and virtually every element has redundancy built into the hardware by design?

Keeping bespoke technology up to date with the fast-paced evolution of IT and consumer demands is not easy and not without its challenges, but today mainframe infrastructure has never been so relevant. Mainframes account for 68 percent of IT production workloads but only 6 percent of IT spend for the banking and finance sectors, amazing hey! (Source: Solitare Interglobal)

  • Bigdata – The ability to store, analyse and report on masses of data for many uses
  • IoT – The management of millions of devices at a touch of a button instantly and consistently
  • Disaster Recovery – Redundancy for internal IT services that external clients are reliant on
  • Scalability – Peak seasonal periods or expandability that’s scalable and without migration costs
  • Security – Never more important than today is the need for absolute security if IT Systems

These are but a few practises within the technical world that have complete focus today. Mainframe technologies can cater for and deliver all of the above points mention and more with Hybrid elements. Yes, you did hear that right, a mainframe can now have hybrid connectivity to other hosted environments that can act as replication partners, burstable capacity overspill and more but coming back to my original analogy to VMWare, what about making one of the world’s most Cloud Ready infrastructure do even more for you?

[easy-tweet tweet=”A mainframe can now have hybrid connectivity to other hosted environments” hashtags=”tech, cloud, IBM, mainframe”]

Just as virtualisation gave us more to run on slightly bigger infrastructure, why not do the same for your mainframe? There are a multitude of vendors that provide optimisation services for current architectures like the x86; little is known about doing the same with mainframe tech. Wouldn’t this make sense to look at first before jumping into the multi-vendor management area of Hybrid IT services? By optimising your workloads you have the ability to:

  • Process over a billion mission-critical transactions per second every day
  • Accelerate application processing by up to 98 percent
  • Seamlessly integrate data on mainframe and distributed systems
  • Enable big data and analytics in multi-platform environments
  • Enable increased control and flexibility in sub-capacity pricing and R4H soft capping environments
  • These are mind blowing capabilities for the mainframe environments, and they are available today. I caught up with Allan Zander, CEO of DATKINETICS (Global leader in Data Performance and Optimisation Solutions).

These are simply mind blowing capabilities for the mainframe environments and they are available today. I caught up with Allan Zander, CEO of DATAKINETICS (Global leader in Data Performance and Optimisation Solutions).

“For the last four decades, technology and IT systems that rely on them have always been seen as technology hidden away. You really don’t need to be concerned about some of the poor stigma that the mainframe may suffer from – much of it is just misinformed FUD.  The mainframe is actually an extremely cost effective computing platform, and the skills to get the solutions that you need are readily available in graduates of today. By optimising what you have and then consider a Hybrid approach can literally save you Billions of dollars!

You can run applications on z/OS that require the very best in reliability and scalability that the mainframe has to offer, but for those applications that perhaps do not require top-level resilience, you can run Linux on your mainframe. And now with the most powerful, scalable, secure and fault tolerant technology available a major player in the open source community, you have to look at this tech for the future of your business!”

The technology is more open than ever before and my point is this. Shouldn’t you get the most out of what we have first before investing in something else? If you have a mainframe, optimise, and get the most out of it first before looking elsewhere as will you really get the performance, reliability and security you demand elsewhere?

Note:  All Fortune 500 IT organizations run both mainframe applications and distributed LUW applications on multiple operating systems on multiple hardware platforms, and access multiple database types.

Neil Cattermull, Director of Cloud Practice, Compare the Cloud

Neil's focus is on developing cloud technology and big data. You can often find him advising CXOs on cloud strategy.

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