Survey Says: Mainframe and SOA are Hot

Mainframe shops plan to expand their capacities and aggressively expose their Big Iron assets via service-oriented architectures

If increasing server market shares aren’t sufficient proof, perhaps surging customer interest—or firm plans to expand upon the status quo—will convince you: Big Iron is back.

That’s one conclusion of a recent survey from mainframe software specialist BMC Software Corp. The survey found that large mainframe shops plan to expand their mainframe capacities and aggressively expose their mainframe assets via service-oriented architectures and other next-generation technologies.

BMC surveyed more than 1,000 mainframe users about their long-term Big Iron plans. According to BMC officials, respondents not only cited strong demand for new mainframe capacity, but also anticipated mainframe-related spending increases. What’s more, BMC said, a number of respondents listed the mainframe as “critical” to their burgeoning SOA and Web services initiatives, and also expressed interest in mainframe-based “data hubs”—a concept that IBM Corp. officials have been promoting for some time now. (

All in all, BMC found, the majority of mainframe users—93 percent—have a positive outlook on Big Iron mainframe as a platform for both new and existing workloads. Not surprisingly, a majority (“more than half,” according to BMC) of respondents expect their overall MIPS consumption levels to increase—largely as a result of new workloads. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of larger shops anticipate increased MIPS consumption.

Elsewhere, 74 percent of respondents said they didn’t believe they could successfully move mainframe-bound mission-critical workloads to distributed platforms—regardless of cost.

Finally, 40 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” about mainframe staffing—conveniently enough, BMC’s bread-and-butter market segment—citing concerns that competition for mainframe management talent will continue to increase.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.