72% of IBM mainframe users polled in a new survey have revealed that their organizations' mainframe computers now support Web or mobile applications, with a further 8% expecting their mainframes to do so within the next three years.
However, many mainframe specialists are concerned that the extra processing workload from Web and mobile transactions could drive up running costs and adversely affect response times for end users, according to the research from software and services company Macro 4, a division of UNICOM® Global.
62% of the 60 mainframe users polled in the survey said new Web applications had been developed to use back-end mainframe systems or data and 53% said existing mainframe applications had been Web and mobile enabled.
While 97% of the survey sample believe the mainframe is a strong platform for supporting web and mobile applications, 38% are concerned about the potential for higher mainframe usage costs or CPU upgrade charges due to the extra workload from supporting these newer areas. Similarly, 28% are worried about the possibility of slower response times for end users due to the increase in mainframe transaction processing from mobile and the Web.
“Overall, 93% of people we questioned said they believe it’s important for mainframes to support new Web and mobile applications if they want to stay relevant and useful. But amongst some organizations there’s a very real concern that these new online applications could have a negative impact on costs or performance if they are not managed effectively,” explained Lynda Kershaw, Marketing Manager at Macro 4, which ran the survey of IBM mainframe users in October 2014 at the GSE UK Conference held by GUIDE SHARE Europe (GSE), Europe's association for IBM computer and software users.
“There’s no denying that the huge rise in Web and mobile transactions has increased mainframe workloads - just think of the volumes handled by online hotel booking systems or financial services sites that provide quotes over the Web,” said Kershaw. “So it’s up to systems management teams to ensure that performance of the mainframe infrastructure is optimized - both at the system and application level - in order to maintain reliable service levels and keep costs in check.”
It could be that when new online systems are integrated with mainframe applications, they highlight and expose inefficiencies in the way that they run and use processing power, continued Kershaw:
“Mainframe application performance management - also known as performance tuning - can help to identify and correct these errors in order to deliver faster responses and better service levels. More efficient code should also result in the same workload being handled using less processing power, so you can minimize usage-based software licensing charges. And it would reduce the pressure to invest in additional processing capacity.”