With all the talk of cloud computing, IT rationalization and re-platforming, it can be tempting to forget that the IBM zSystems platform remains a powerful component of corporate infrastructure. And while it’s not without its challenges, the IBM zSystems mainframe is a proven technology with unmatched processing power. It is also one in which corporations worldwide have invested heavily. So, for those of us that service the enterprise content management space, the question isn’t if the mainframe is being replaced; rather it’s how the mainframe is being enhanced.

The essential nature of the IBM zSystems platform is confirmed annually in a survey of their users worldwide. In a recent survey, 92 percent of respondents said they consider IBM Z to be a long-term business solution. More than half said they think it will attract new workloads.

“This survey just stands to remind us that we really don’t change that quickly or easily and sometimes the old tried-and-true methods do work better, particularly if they can be advanced to embrace new concepts and ideas,” Rob Enderle commented in ITBusinessEdge. “For major initiatives like cloud computing and software as a service, the transactional advantages that mainframes have may keep them around longer than we are.”

Another commentator has proclaimed, “The mainframe is the eternal computing platform.”

A major investment that needs to be leveraged

Eternal or not, the reasons for IBM zSystems’s staying power are clear. The most obvious is the investment so many companies have made in “Big Iron”.

In 2012, The Economist wrote somewhat dismissively that, “the mainframe story is one of inertia as much as innovation. Large banks, for instance, are stuck with mainframes for their core systems because of high switching costs. ‘How would you even go about reorganising such a system,’ wonders Rakesh Kumar of Gartner, a market-research firm.”

The use of the word “stuck” belies the fact that the mainframe does an essential job and does it extremely well. The IBM Z platform processes the vast amount of transactions created by the likes of 92 of the world’s top 100 banks, 8 of the 10 largest insurers, 7 of the 10 largest retailers, etc. With 350% growth of IBM zSystems usage over the past decade, surely these companies don’t feel they are “stuck”. Maybe they are simply happy.

New approaches to content management

Of course, there are challenges and the most obvious continues to be cost. Within IT, cost continues to be a top priority. Newer distributed technologies have helped companies maintain costs even as MIPS and generated content has increased. Technologies like cloud and distributed systems in conjunction with the IBM zSystems platform is now the standard implementation.

Recognizing that the IBM zSystems is here to stay but companies also require architectural flexibility, Systemware Content Cloud is designed to run on IBM zSystems, distributed, the public cloud, or any hybrid combination of the three. Whether you require that all content management components live on the mainframe or just the core application, Systemware Content Cloud fits your needs.

Content Cloud isn’t about replacing IBM zSystems, it’s about enhancing it. That’s where the conversation needs to be.