Sunday, 7 February 2010

Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2010 user survey

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2010 has been available for download free from for just over a week. Each new Yearbook is always greeted with enthusiasm by mainframers everywhere, and, not too surprisingly, there were over 2500 downloads on the first two days the 2010 edition was available. The Yearbook is always interesting, but especially interesting each year are the results of the user survey.

Respondents all completed a survey on the Arcati site between the 2 November 2009 and the 4 December 2009. 30% were from Europe and 46% from North America, with 24% from the rest of the world.

42% of the respondents worked in companies with upwards of 10,000 employees worldwide, while 19% had 1001 to 5000 staff. 16% of respondents had 0-200 staff and 12% had 5001-10,000. In terms of MIPS 45% of respondents had fewer than 1000 MIPS installed, 26% fell into the mid-sized category between 1000 and 10,000 MIPS, and 29% were at the high end.

Looking at MIPS growth produced some interesting results. Larger, more mature businesses (above 10,000 MIPS) were mostly experiencing some growth, but some growing by more than 50%. Sites in the 1000-10,000 MIPS range were typically experiencing growth of less than 10%. Sites below 1000 MIPS were also generally experiencing growth of less than 10%. The mainframe market does appear to be quite fragmented with competitive pressures at the lower end of the mainframe market.

With the environment and environmental issues getting so much coverage in the media these days, the survey asked whether IBM's recent green initiatives on things like power consumption and cooling had made the mainframe more or less attractive. Nearly three-quarters (72% - up from last year's 62%) said that IBM's green initiatives made no difference at all. One site said that the initiative made the mainframe less attractive. 19% felt it made the mainframe a little more attractive, and 7% felt it made the mainframe a lot more attractive. Clearly "greenness" isn't much of a selling point for mainframes.

With all the suing and counter-suing going on between IBM and NEON Enterprise Software over NEON's specialty processor software, the survey asked which specialty processors sites had. 37% of respondents had not yet activated or installed a specialty processor, 12% of sites had all three (IFL, zIIP, and zAAP), and a further 12% had two of the three specialty processors. More sites had zIIP processors (39%) than any other.

As usual, respondents were unhappy with costs. One commented: "The mainframe is too expensive (and perceived as being even more so). Costs for legacy applications must come down, and third-party software must support the mainframe." Another suggested: "The other platform costs may be increasing faster than mainframes but the starting point is drastically lower."

As always, there are wonderful nuggets of information in the survey.

The Yearbook can only be free to mainframers because of the support given by sponsors. This year's sponsors were CA, DataKinetics,, Progress:DataDirect, and Software Diversified Services (SDS).

1 comment:

Marcel said...

A survey like this shows cold numbers. It's the thought behind them that interests me. "The Mainframe is expensive...". And it seems like this myth will live forever. A recent survey from CA (180 European MF sites) uncovered that >50% of the critical apps/data still resides on the Mainframe. And that the % of IT budget spent is around 20%!!!! (
We simply THINK the mainframe is more expensive even though we manage it with far less people than ever before and MIPS are cheaper than ever before. And we could save more if these people could spend more time looking for savings and being less busy "keeping the mainframe running"... Installing, tuning, exploiting zIIP processors and using zLinux, we simply do not have the time to look into these things anymore. Have a look at how new developments are focusing on this..