The Modern Mainframe: 3 Predictions for 2019

According to BMC’s 2018 mainframe report, 93% of executives continue to believe in the long-term viability of the platform; 92% predict long-term viability (third straight year of increases, highest level since 2013); and 63% of respondents were under age 50, up 10 percentage points from 2017. Recently, Bill Miller, president of ZSolutions at BMC, reflected on the key trends he envisions for the mainframe industry in 2019, including its evolving workforce.

1-Mainframe, meet DevOp—watch what happens when two worlds collide: There’s no such thing as an isolated IT environment, especially in a large enterprise. Much of the talk around DevOps has centered on cloud-based applications, but the reality is that today’s modern application is often built on a multi-tiered application architecture that spans from mobile to cloud to middleware to backend transaction and data servers. In this environment the mainframe is the most powerful, most secure, most reliable backend processor and it must enable application teams to work in a multilayered development process. That requires tools for impact analysis, code review and code management, as well for making changes to the underlying database quickly and securely. In 2019, organizations will work to fully capitalize on the agility and speed that DevOps can bring, and with the right approach, mainframes can be made an integral part of the DevOps process. Large organizations will not be able to fully capitalize on this new deployment model without connecting their most vital platforms.

2-The mainframe industry will be modernized—inside and out: In 2019, enterprises will modernize both their mainframe technology and their workforce to meet the demands of our data-driven era. That means organizations will prioritize application modernization and embrace AI Ops and machine learning to empower their changing workforce. Machine learning, analytics, and intelligent automation will pave the way for more organizations to build self-managing mainframe environments that can predict and solve issues without manual intervention. Finally, mainframe modernization will also happen in the workforce—as a generation of mainframe experts retires, we will see a continuation of the trend in which more millennials are hired to run advanced mainframe technologies aided by the built-in domain expertise and automation they need to succeed.

3-Mainframes will win over the C-Suite: Digitization and mobility are placing incredible pressure on both IT and mainframes to manage a greater volume, variety, and velocity of transactions and data. Thankfully, the mainframe's longevity stems partly from its ability to reinvent itself constantly to facilitate the changing dynamics of modern business, maintain near-constant availability and efficiently process billions of critical transactions—proving to be a viable long term platform today. As it continues to serve as the backbone of digital environments, 2019 will be the year that savvy ITOM executives truly embrace the power and value their mainframes bring to their business.