Businesses 'stick with mainframes' for the cloud

Mainframe computing is seen by most businesses as an essential component of their cloud computing strategy, according to a survey of IT managers.

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Mainframe computing is seen by most businesses as an essential component of their cloud computing strategy, according to a survey of IT managers.

Three quarters of those interviewed believe mainframes will have a role in any cloud computing initiative, according to the research.

The survey reveals that 94 percent of UK firms agree the mainframe "is an important concept to their company’s strategy" and 82 percent of respondents said they intend to use the mainframe in the future "either as much as or more than today".

In addition, 54 percent said cloud computing will sustain or extend the mainframe environment.

However, mainframe staffing issues are still a serious issue for companies questioned, as in many cases companies are relying on staff who have been running mainframes for about 30 years, with not enough new mainframe staff coming through.

The study revealed that 66 percent of UK organisations running on mainframes face workforce sustainability issues in keeping mission critical systems staffed, which was 22 percent above the cross-country survey average. The research was commissioned by CA, which sells mainframe software applications.

“This survey provides evidence of the mainframe’s agility to perform in new IT models, such as cloud computing, and on-going durability as a critical datacentre platform for decades to come,” said Dayton Semerjian, general manager for mainframe business at CA.

"But ongoing practical innovation will be required to ensure that the mainframe can always be an effective and integral part of an evolving IT infrastructure among UK organisations."

The survey was based on 300 IT decision makers across ten European countries, including the UK, and was carried out by research firm Vanson Bourne.

The future of mainframes has long been an issue of heated debate, with some observers predicting their quick demise. In the US, the House of Representatives turned off its last mainframe last year, in favour of new virtualisation technology.