Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook - user survey findings

The Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2014 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.

The results came from the 100 respondents who completed the survey on the Arcati Web site between 1 November and 6 December 2013. 51% were from North America, 33% were from Europe with the remainder from the rest of the world.

Half of the respondents worked in companies with upwards of 10,000 employees worldwide. Below that, with 24 percent of respondents, were staff sizes of 1001-5000, 10 percent with staff sizes of 0-200, nine percent with staff sizes of 201 to 1000, and only seven percent with staff sizes of 5001 to 10,000. In terms of MIPS, 28 percent had 1000-10,000 MIPS, down again from last year’s figure of 36 percent. 16 percent had under 500 MIPS, only 15 percent had 500-1000 MIPS, 13 percent had 10,000 to 25,000 MIPS, and 17 percent had over 25,000 MIPS installed.

Looking at MIPS growth produced some interesting results. 71 percent of sites of mainframe installations are experiencing some growth, with three sites claiming growth in the region of 26-50 percent. Only eight percent of sites are reporting a decline in mainframe capacity growth. 11 percent of sites are not expecting any kind of change in their MIPS this year. Small sites (32 percent) are most likely to have seen some kind of decline or to have stayed the same, and yet, in complete contrast, they were more likely to see growth in the 26-50 percent range. While some larger sites (above 10,000 MIPS) did report a decline or no growth, the majority were anticipating some kind of growth possibly up to 50 percent per year. Mid-range respondents were typically expecting some kind of growth (89 percent of sites). It is a confusing picture with nearly a third of small sites, 10 percent of medium sites, and 17 percent of larger sites showing no growth or a decline. Perhaps sites have been holding off on growth until the global economic climate brightens up.

The survey looked at whether sites currently used their mainframe for cloud computing. Only seven percent of respondents said they did. The survey also asked whether respondents were planning to adopt cloud computing as a strategy. 50 percent said they weren’t at present. 16 percent thought some mainframe applications would be cloud enabled in the future. And 15 percent  claimed that some of their applications are using the cloud model.

There’s been a huge growth in the use of social media in recent years, and the survey wondered whether those people “using their dad’s technology” found social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc) useful for their work on the mainframe. 18 percent said that they did, with 13 percent not sure, and the rest not using it at all. With IBM having Facebook pages dedicated to IMS, CICS, and DB2, it seems a shame if they’re not being used.

With the growth in number of software products that allow users to monitor the mainframe from a browser on a tablet/iPad or smartphone, the survey looked at whether mainframers were using these devices to monitor or control their mainframe. Only nine percent said that they were.

Another hot topic through 2013 has been Big Data and all the things associated with that (such as Hadoop). The survey asked whether sites had any plans to use Big Data. Just two percent of sites said that they were already using Big Data, with a further 12 percent planning to do so.

The survey also asked about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). It wanted to know how important sites thought it was to make mainframe data available to other platforms. 78 percent of sites said that it was very important to the way they work at the moment. Three percent are in the planning stage, and nine percent expect to do some work on this in the future. When it comes to how important is the idea of people using their own devices (BYOD) to access mainframes, 15 percent of sites said it was very important to the way they work now – but 47 percent said it wasn’t important.

Anyway, full details of the responses to many other questions 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 Diversified Services (SDS), Software AG, zIT Consulting, and CA Technologies.

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