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September 7, 2021

In the digital economy, there’s a popular belief that mainframes are meant to be decommissioned and retired. Enterprises are switching to cloud where the pace of technological innovation exceeds business demands. However, enterprises running their core business applications on mainframes face multiple challenges such as high ownership costs, monolithic and unscalable architecture, licensing monopolization and low automation potential. Today’s enterprises require a cost-effective and flexible technology backbone with respect to modernization of mainframes to meet the dynamic demands of a Business 4.0™ world.

Enterprises are retaining mainframes for their huge transaction processing capabilities and extending the arm with agile and modern digital technologies without compromising on nativity, security, modernity, latency, or compliance. This helps enterprises get the best of both worlds that is, power and flexibility.

Coexistence is the name of the game

The mainframe, also known as ‘big iron’, is beginning to prove its long-term viability because there is a growing need for powerful infrastructure. Today’s digital enterprises demand powerful data centers, storage and networking capabilities that are hard to find in cloud. The tradeoff of purely choosing cloud for its ‘as a service’ model is offset by mainframes’ unparalleled transaction processing capabilities at scale. By modernizing mainframes, enterprises can significantly reduce their technical debt. In an integrated mainframe-cloud environment, enterprises can leverage the flexibility of cloud to run business applications and optimize cost and bulk on the mainframe for its transactional and computational power.

The mainframe ecosystem is evolving fast

Several industries, such as financial services, insurance, travel, and government agencies, still rely heavily on mainframes for processing high-volume transactions. 5G and the internet of things will make a compelling case for mainframes to power businesses where large data sets must be securely processed at speed and scale, in real time.

To keep up with fast-changing market expectations, mainframe technologies are undergoing a fundamental upgrade with the introduction of Linux, API, containers, and so on, which is giving them an edge in the modernization journey. Self-managing mainframes leverage analytics, machine learning, and intelligent automation to predict and solve issues without manual intervention.

Today, cloud computing is transforming technology with an ‘as a service’ model by enabling enterprises to leverage services with a click of a button. The underlying infrastructure is becoming invisible to the end user yet providing a seamless experience. As mainframes are evolving well to integrate these new-age technologies, a synergy of mainframe and cloud will create a win-win scenario.

How mainframes can get the best out of cloud

With a complex IT landscape, enterprises are forced to address the challenges pertaining to legacy modernization and tech refresh. Mainframes can coexist with cloud by extending, exploiting, and extrapolating cloud, giving IT leaders a greater advantage to drive business outcomes.

Here are four ways mainframes can leverage the power of cloud:

  • Flexible and elastic infrastructure: The system supports a variety of highly secure virtualized environments for cloud implementation including the VM operating system running virtual servers, hypervisors, blade servers, and logical partitions.
  • Seamless security: Mainframe on enterprise cloud implementation allows better control with a high level of security transparency, providing a single view across the organization. It provides continuity in access and identity management at its core, coupled by log management and security information and event management (SIEM) interoperability.
  • Next-gen technologies: Leverage API, DevOps, AI, blockchain and big data on enterprise cloud to supplement and complement the inert areas of mainframe platform.
  • Mainframe as a service: Reduce operational cost and capital-intensive mainframe refresh cycle and improve maintainability where potential new features can be integrated with DevOps and containerization.

As enterprises drive digital transformation to improve their time to market, there is an increasing need for an agile, flexible technology backbone. There is an equal need to focus on economic sustainability which makes it pivotal for enterprises to invest in initiatives that benefits their business and end consumers. Cloud technologies entered the enterprise agenda by offering a faster, smarter, and lighter technology infrastructure. Mainframes can coexist with cloud as its integration capabilities are priming fast to provide enterprises agility, scalability and flexibility to meet the dynamic demands of Business 4.0 enterprises.

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Rajesh heads sales, solution, and product engineering for enterprise cloud at TCS. He brings over 25 years of experience in enterprise architecture, IT governance and transformation. In his current role, he is responsible for cloud business and transformation strategy which includes long-term technology and engineering objectives, setting-up cloud availability zones across the globe and enabling TCS’ clients across industries in their cloud journey to gain competitive edge. He has deep expertise in a variety of technologies and extensive experience in managing multifaceted partner ecosystems globally across domains.

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