Sunday, 3 February 2013

BYOD growing in importance at mainframe sites

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2013 is now available for download from – and it’s FREE. Each new Yearbook is always greeted with enthusiasm by mainframers everywhere because it is such a unique source of information. And each year, many people find the results of the user survey especially interesting. And this year, for the first time, we asked about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Firstly, we wanted to know how important sites thought it was to make mainframe data available to other platforms. 82 percent of sites said that it was very important to the way they work at the moment. When it comes to how important the idea of people using their own devices is to access mainframes, 10 percent of sites said it was very important to the way they work now – but 18 percent are in the planning stages, and a further 12 percent expect to be in the future.

There’s been a huge growth in the use of social media in recent years, and we wondered whether mainframers found social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc) useful for their work on the mainframe. A fifth (20 percent) said that they did, with eight percent not sure, and the rest not using it at all. Perhaps a surprisingly low figure, with IBM having Facebook pages dedicated to IMS, CICS, and DB2.

The survey also looked at IBM’s PureSystems – said to combine the flexibility of a general purpose system, the elasticity of cloud, and the simplicity of an appliance. They are integrated by design and come with built-in expertise. So, that’s the hype, but were survey respondents actually buying them? Only two percent of respondents said they were and, similarly, only two percent said they planned to. The survey also looked at the take up of business analytics (IBM’s Smarter Analytics). Here the take up was slightly higher, but again it makes disappointing reading for IBM, with four percent of sites saying they were currently using the technology and another four percent planning to.

Talk of Linux on mainframes has used the old joke of’ taking ten years to become an overnight success’ for a little while now. But this year, the survey found only 34 percent of respondents (down from last year’s 44 percent) said that they run Linux on the System z (with another 16 percent, up from last year’s 6 percent, at the planning stage). There are considerable cost and management benefits of consolidating distributed Linux workloads onto the mainframe, and IBM made the IFL (Integrated Facility for Linux) specialty processor available in 2001. Even so, running Linux on a mainframe seems now to be a mainstream technology.

Oracle and DB2 have been at loggerheads for a while now, but while the survey was thinking about Linux on mainframes, it queried how many sites were running Oracle under Linux on System z. Just eight percent of sites surveyed said that they currently run Oracle on zLinux, with another eight percent planning to.

The survey was completed by100 individuals between the 1 November 2012 and the 7 December 2012. Just under half (48 percent) were from North America and just over a third (36 percent) were from Europe, with 10 percent from the Asia/Pacific region, and eight percent from the Middle East/Africa.

48 percent of the companies have in excess of 10,000 employees worldwide. Below that, with 20 percent of respondents, are staff sizes of 1001-5000. With 12 percent of responses are staff sizes of 5001-1000. And with 10 percent each are staff sizes of 1 to 200 and 201 to 1000. 84 percent of our respondents were involved in running in-house data centres, with only six percent working in an outsourced operation.

So what are the main benefits for an organization of using a mainframe over other platforms? 88 percent of respondents highlighted the benefit of availability, with 74percent identifying security as a benefit. Scalability and manageability came next with scores of 68 and 66 percent respectively.

So why isn’t everyone using a mainframe? 82 percent thought mainframes are too expensive (or appear to be). 58 percent thought that there are cultural barriers between mainframers and other IT professionals. 24 percent identified concerns about future availability/support for mainframe applications, 18 percent said difficulty in obtaining or retaining the necessary skills, and 12 percent thought mainframes are too complex (or appear to be). Sadly, only two percent thought there were no obstacles to mainframe acceptance.

Full details of all the questions and responses can be found in the user survey section of the Yearbook. It’s well worth a read.

The Yearbook can only be free because some organizations have been prepared to sponsor it or advertise in it. This year’s sponsors were: Software AG, Software Diversified Services (SDS), and William Data Systems.


Steve Frank said...
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Steve Frank said...
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