A new report by IT industry analyst Clabby Analytics says that 'all of the new improvements that IBM is making in mainframe management may actually reduce the number of people needed to manage mainframes in the future as well as reduce the skills needed to manage mainframe environments'. The Clabby report indicates that the mainframe's ability to run Linux and Java workloads will 'play a vital role in ensuring the mainframe's longevity'.
Clabby concludes that 'the mainframe serves a unique role in the enterprise as a centralised, secure database hub, as a powerful transaction engine, and as a host of mission-critical business logic. IT executives know this - and maybe this is why the mainframe market grew 8% last year'.
The report refers to IBM's cross-company effort to make the IBM System z mainframe easier to use for a greater number of computer professionals by 2011. The company's five-year, $100 million investment aims to enable the technical community to more easily programme, manage and administer a mainframe system while simplifying application development for the mainframe environment.
According to Clabby, this initiative is 'not only making it possible for lesser-skilled individuals to manage mainframes - the company is also making mainframe management appeal to our next generation of Windows-born-and-trained managers and administrators'.
"IBM's simplification efforts are helping ensure that the mainframe is the right solution for new customers and new markets." said Richard Cairn, business development manager of System z. "These customers understand that the mainframe is the most secure and cost-effective platform for enterprise computing."
The Clabby report points to mainframe strengths in a variety of areas. For example:
* The system's ability to run the Linux operating environment, which has brought a whole new generation of modern applications - and commonly-used tools - onto mainframes.
* IBM's goal of training new 20 000 mainframe experts at over 400 colleges and universities around the world.
The report asserts: "By running IBM's Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and IBM zIIP and zAAP engines, IT executives can drive a whole new generation of modern applications onto mainframes. Expect that there will be no shortage of Java/Linux-trained individuals who can ply their wares on the mainframe for the foreseeable future."