Mainframes are still necessary; integrating them with modern hardware and software is tricky; and DevOps is the answer. Those are the takeaways from a survey out this week that was commissioned by Compuware.
The survey, which was released Dec. 14, was conducted by Forrester. It asked professionals how often their organizations rely on mainframe systems and what they do to overcome the challenges associated with using legacy mainframes within modern computing environments.
The survey suggests that mainframes are not going anywhere soon: 57 percent of respondents said new business initiatives “always” involve the mainframe, according to Compuware. Even though mainframe systems are now decades old, they still have a place in modern IT.
But bridging the gap between mainframes and more modern infrastructure and software delivery practices is tough, according to the survey. This is due not only to what Compuware calls “organizational bureaucracy” and “insufficient funding,” but also the difficulty of integrating mainframes with other types of technology that were designed in a different era.
The survey shows that most professionals take one of three approaches to solving that challenge:
- Move applications off of mainframes. The downside to this strategy is that mainframe applications may not run as fast or as securely on other hardware.
- Avoid using the mainframe at all. This, too, is not always ideal, according to Compuware, because the mainframe is better at handling some types of workloads.
- “Modernize” mainframes, which entails a lot of investment and effort.
According to Forrester’s conclusion in the study, a better approach is to apply DevOps techniques to mainframe development. That means that the mainframe technology itself does not have to change or be hybridized; only the approach to mainframe app delivery changes. “Those companies embracing DevOps deliver faster and at a higher quality, all while fostering collaboration,” Forrester concluded.
These are all things that a Compuware-sponsored study is likely to say, of course. Compuware specializes in DevOps solutions for the mainframe.
Still, the survey is a good reminder that mainframe is alive and well—and DevOps teams should not leave it out of the picture.