In today’s world where cloud computing has become ubiquitous, you could be forgiven to think cloud computing has made mainframes redundant. But has cloud computing truly made mainframes redundant? The clear answer is no. Mainframes remain extremely important even today just as they were – about half a century ago when they were introduced – before cloud computing made an all pervading appearance. Given public cloud computing platforms like AWS and Azure are taking the world by storm and today everything and everyone is swiftly transitioning to the cloud, read on to find out why mainframes still retain their sway. Mainframes are the original cloud.

The many benefits cloud computing offers to businesses also holds true for mainframes. If you take a little effort to connect the dots and dig a little deeper, you will start noticing stark similarities between the two. Cloud computing’s popularity has soared due to:

  • On-demand access to compute and storage resources which are rapidly and infinitely scalable.
  • Reduce reliance on local commodity servers which provides a cost-effective way to maintain infrastructure.
  • Flexibility and convenience offered. The cloud allows you the convenience of launching varied software environments and the flexibility to execute any type of host operating system based on your choice. Depending on your requirements, you can choose to use virtual servers or containers.
  • Reduced maintenance costs. Cloud computing eliminates the need for maintaining multiple individual on-premise servers.

Now consider the following benefits that mainframes have been offering much before the advent of cloud computing:

  • A mainframe allows you to use a single infrastructure that provides enormous compute and storage resources for on-demand access when your applications require.
  • If you currently use a mainframe, in all probability, you own that equipment. This means you don’t have to invest money in purchasing new infrastructure. Furthermore, a mainframe’s lifespan is several decades as compared to a commodity server that typically has a lifespan of just a few years.
  • Like cloud computing, mainframes offer lots of software flexibility. Depending on your requirements, you can choose to use a mainframe operating system like z/OS or an open source operating system like Linux.
  • A mainframe is one single machine and cost lesser to maintain as compared to maintaining multiple individual on-premise servers.

As you can infer mainframes have been offering the same benefits of cloud computing well before the latter technology was introduced. By extension then, mainframes are the original cloud. If you are currently using a mainframe, there’s a strong possibility that you aren’t considering moving your workload to the clouds just yet since you are reaping the same benefits as offered by cloud computing.

To summarize, cloud computing is just a newer and flashier technology that offers almost identical benefits that mainframes have been delivering for almost 50 years now.


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