The cost of updating mainframe applications has gone up almost a third (29 percent) in 18 months, according to research among CIOs and IT directors.
Almost 600 IT heads were questioned for a global survey on mainframe costs, and they estimated it would take an average of $11 million (£6.6 million) to bring their outdated mainframe applications up to date - an increase of almost a third from May 2012 - when the estimated cost was $8.5 million - to November 2013.
Application optimisation firm Micro Focus commissioned the research, and found that, on average, respondents expected their organisations to continue relying on mainframe applications for another ten years, with almost a third (32 percent) believing it would be longer than this.
However, despite the perceived longevity of mainframe applications and the "mounting IT debt", the majority (81 percent) find it difficult to justify the expense of maintaining core applications - only 10 percent confirmed they are always successful in their justification.
As a result, 51 percent of CIOs admitted their business is exposed to compliance and risk issues.
Derek Britton, director of product marketing at Micro Focus, said: “Core mainframe applications are often the lifeblood of the organisation, yet the burden of IT debt is on the increase.
"A major factor in this is that many non-IT people think IT innovation only means brand new technology, rather than improving existing, critical applications. The IT leadership challenge is to find smart ways to blend innovation projects with protecting and evolving critical systems.”