Addressing Common Mainframe Myths

The mainframe is widely misunderstood and often unfairly vilified. We take a closer look at major myths surrounding mainframes and the reality behind them, as covered by Sam Knutson at this summer’s SHARE Atlanta event.

Myth: The mainframe is expensive.

This is a widespread misconception, sustained in part by the fact that mainframes require a larger upfront initial expense when compared to servers. But when you look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), not just the acquisition cost, mainframes are the more cost-effective option in the long run.

z Systems customers can increase compute power without the need for significantly more power or floor space, and costs per MIPS MIPS (originally an acronym for Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages) decreases. Consider this statistic: While mainframes account for 68 percent of production workloads, they only account for 6 percent of IT spending.

Reality: Mainframes are considerably less expensive to maintain than alternative options in the long run.

Myth: The mainframe is using legacy technology, and it’s inflexible.

People often think the mainframe was invented in 1960 and never evolved. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

IBM is constantly reinventing the platform. IBM’s z13, for example, is the world’s fastest microprocessor, capable of handling 2.5 billion transactions per day. Yes, mainframes could still be running code from the 1960s, but that’s actually a sign of engineering genius. Mainframes have better upward compatibility than any other platform, meaning that they will never be trapped in old technology.

Reality: The mainframe is one of the most flexible platforms that exists. In addition to new technology options, unparalleled upward compatibility opportunities abound.

To learn more about these myths and many others, watch Sam Knutson’s full presentation, “Mainframe Mythbusters” from this summer’s SHARE Atlanta event. You can find that presentation and others from the recent SHARE in Atlanta event in the SHARE Live! from Atlanta 2016 content library.

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