Survey Predicts Continued Strong Growth of Linux Use on Mainframes

Availability of capacity, platform cost-effectiveness main reasons for increased focus in strategy, spending

Delivering greater business value while controlling IT costs is driving large enterprises to increase their investments in mainframe Linux according to a global study commissioned by CA.

The study asked 100 IT executives and managers at large enterprises (those with annual revenue of at least $2 billion) about how they used Linux on IBM mainframes. Ninety-three percent of respondents expect that they'll use IBM’s Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) specialty mainframe processor at the same or greater level in the next two years. One in ten respondents projected their use will grow more than 76 percent.

Leading the respondents' desire for increased mainframe Linux use: "the desire to take advantage of computing capacity available on their mainframe’s central processors and/or IFLs" and "their assessment that using Linux on the mainframe would be more cost-effective than other platforms," according to a CA announcement. Respondents reported using Linux on the mainframe for “green” computing initiatives as well as infrastructure consolidation strategies.

When asked to categorize certain elements of Linux on the mainframe as challenges or advantages, "four aspects were rated as strongly advantageous: backup, restore, and disaster recovery; the ability to scale to many virtual machines; security; and [the] availability of applications. Of these, scalability received the strongest rating overall," CA said.

“Linux on the mainframe is clearly a very attractive platform choice for IT organizations that have to continue scaling the services they deliver to the business, even as their infrastructure budgets are constrained by market uncertainty and competing priorities,” said Michael Zinda, senior vice president in CA’s Mainframe Business Unit, in a statement. “This study shows that customers are very much aware of the unique value that Linux offers on the mainframe -- and that the mainframe remains an ongoing focus for IT investment.”

The study, conducted by TheInfoPro, targeted existing users or those with plans to use Linux on the mainframe in production within 18 months. Respondents were drawn from North America, Europe (U.K., France, Germany), and Australia.

The survey results are available at no cost (no registration required) at

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (

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