You’ve probably heard some variation of the line, “We need to access the mainframe,” in countless old movies and TV shows. The implication was that you need a big computer to handle a big problem like, say, an alien invasion. But are mainframe computers still relevant today? After all, the smartphone on which you’re probably reading this blog has infinitely more processing power than even the largest of the mainframes in those old movies. Besides, weren’t mainframes destined to be cast aside and replaced by newer technologies? Aren’t they pretty much irrelevant?
The answer might surprise you – until you remember that mainframes were designed to handle bulk processing tasks for large corporations and organizations. And those user groups are even larger today than they were in the past.
Mainframes are still going strong
Here are some of the key reasons why mainframe computers are still relevant in 2018:
- A remarkable 80 percent of the world’s corporate data resides or originates on mainframes.
- Mainframe computers run the primary tasks of 70% of the global Fortune 500 companies.
- Every year, IBM mainframes process $23 billion in ATM transactions and $6 trillion in debt and credit card transactions.
- 96 of the top banks in the world, 23 of the 25 top US retailers and 9 out of 10 of the world’s largest insurance companies run z Systems.
- IBM anticipates there will be 37,200 new mainframe administration positions across the globe by 2020.
Mainframe computers are integral to successfully manage or operate large-scale business endeavors. Quite simply, they aren’t going away any time soon.
Modern mainframes are powerful, reliable, and secure
Some people who hear the word “mainframe” think of big, old metal dinosaurs. However, modern mainframes are nothing of the kind. To give you an idea of how your trusty desktop or laptop stacks up against one of these machines, consider the fact that the average personal computer has 8 gigabytes of memory. A typical mainframe computer has 3 terabytes of memory – that’s 3,000 gigabytes.
Along with processing power, today’s mainframes are remarkable for their reliability and security. In fact, they were originally designed with security as a core concept. When was the last time you heard of a mainframe getting a virus? They are also completely backward compatible, which means that programs written even 50 years ago will run on a modern mainframe – and a program written today will still run on a mainframe many years from now.
A technology workhorse
Tried and true, mainframes are more than just reliable, they’re essential. Contrary to what some may think, they play a vital role in our mobile, cloud-based world. In fact, they provide the infrastructure backbone for numerous organizations including big retailers, airlines, utilities, banks, and healthcare entities.
An IBM internal study showed that 62% of data center organizations know they’re on the verge of having a mainframe skills shortage. With the baby-boomer generation retiring, there’s about to be a major demand for individuals who possess mainframe skills and experience.
Mainframes are more relevant today than ever before. The bottom line is that without mainframe computers — and people with the skills to run them – our technology-driven society would grind to a halt.
If you have a temporary or permanent IT Mainframe Support need or a question about our Mainframe Support services and would like to learn more, contact us today.