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Does Mainframe Outsourcing Still Make Sense In the Cloud Era?

Feb 25, 2016 3:00:00 PM

by Josh Boxer

cloud computing and mainframe outsourcing

One of the most unexpected developments of computing in the 21st century is the distributed nature of technology. It was a given that computers in personal, micro, and mainframe formats would continue to grow more powerful over time. What no one really counted on was the unexpected bonus to computational power that would arise from using the emerging online capabilities of computers and conceptualizing what we now refer to as “The Cloud,” which is simply another way for companies without the computational power onsite to take advantage of that power courtesy of another service.

Meeting the Company’s Needs

But, this brings up an interesting question. There’s already a service that raises efficiency within a company’s technology infrastructure by offloading the maintenance and power of mainframe computing to another organization. This is known as mainframe outsourcing. So if mainframe outsourcing and cloud computing both rest on the concept of letting some other technology do the “heavy lifting” for a company’s computational needs, then is there even a need for mainframe outsourcing?

The final answer for any CIO is, “It depends on the needs of the company.”

Source & Results

The mainframe is, ultimately, going to be at the root of any major computational work. Even with the use of cloud computing and storage, there’s still a chance that a mainframe is involved somewhere in this line of technology.

The critical difference between usages of the cloud versus mainframe outsourcing is that, in some ways, you are “eliminating the middle man” by going directly to the source with mainframe outsourcing. For some companies that don’t process a lot of heavy, “critical workload” data, a cloud solution may be sufficient because the data required isn’t sensitive in either timing or value.

For other companies however, that may have already enjoyed the privilege of using an in-house mainframe to perform many complex activities, there may be a preference to have a “dedicated machine” that is fully committed to processing company data, and mainframe outsourcing achieves this goal. Outsourcing can take many forms; going as far as outsourcing the hardware itself, to just the software or the support staff, much of this is entirely dependent on the particular circumstances of the company, and the corporate policies on data and security.

Taking a Close Look

In the same way, there are various cloud solutions that offer different levels of service depending on your needs. There are public cloud services for less sensitive data and computations, private cloud services for more dedicated computing and data storage, and hybrid cloud solutions for companies that need the flexibility of both.

Ultimately, both solutions are viable, but only after a comprehensive analysis of what a company’s computational needs and goals are. Having a dedicated mainframe outsourced may be exactly what one company needs for their intensive work, while another benefits enormously from the employees having cloud access to data. The final arbiter, as it should be, is what you find works best for your company’s goals.

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