Published on February 8, 2024, 5:09 pm

The Coexistence Of Mainframes And Cloud Computing: A Deliberate Approach To Modernization

The rush to replace mainframes with cloud computing seems to be slowing down as companies seek a more balanced approach to their computing needs. A survey conducted by Advanced, an application modernization firm, revealed that only 6% of respondents believed that mainframes would be replaced by alternative technologies in the near future.

While digital transformation remains a high-priority for many organizations, wholesale migration off mainframes is no longer seen as the silver bullet it was once thought to be. Instead, companies are opting for a more deliberate and thoughtful path forward. In fact, 52% of the companies surveyed indicated that they planned to maintain or even grow their dependency on mainframes.

Mainframes continue to be the preferred platform for core applications and legacy applications that have complex dependencies on mainframe infrastructure. More than half of the respondents (56%) stated that mainframes are their preferred platform for core applications, while 51% highlighted their reliance on mainframes for legacy applications.

One project manager from an insurance company explained how their firm heavily relies on mainframes for core applications such as underwriting, particularly for handling large-scale transactional data. It seems that despite the push towards cloud migration, some organizations still see the value and advantages that mainframes offer in certain areas of their operations.

According to the survey, a division of deployment is emerging within organizations. Mainframes are being used for core applications, while cloud computing is being leveraged for innovation. In fact, 92% of respondents favored a hybrid cloud approach combining both technologies.

However, there are challenges associated with modernizing mainframe systems. The majority of respondents (86%) reported starting mainframe modernization projects in the past but only 22% achieved success. Complexity (40%), project cost (36%), and risk (33%) were identified as key factors hindering successful modernization.

Despite these challenges, it appears that mainframes will continue playing a critical role in large enterprises over the next five years. 68% of respondents believe that mainframes will continue to be a vital technology platform, while 26% anticipate a gradual decline in prominence.

Interestingly, generative AI is also prompting more banking applications to shift to the cloud. Respondents from the survey expressed that AI innovation was accelerating their transition away from mainframes. This trend was particularly noticeable among insurance companies and those in the US.

Generative AI offers the potential for improved and personalized customer engagement, as well as enhanced fraud and risk management. These benefits are highly desirable for banks seeking to innovate and stay ahead in the rapidly changing digital landscape.

The prospect of AI innovation, combined with the skills gap in mainframe expertise, is likely to push companies further towards cloud adoption. As artificial intelligence tools improve and organizations strive for greater operational agility, we can expect an increased migration away from mainframes towards cloud computing.

In conclusion, while the rush to replace mainframes with cloud computing may have slowed down, it’s clear that both technologies will coexist within organizations. Mainframes continue to hold value for core applications and legacy systems, while cloud computing offers opportunities for innovation and scalability. The balance between these two technologies will depend on each organization’s specific needs and priorities moving forward.


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