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What’s Trending in Mainframe: Emerging IT Strategies from World-Class Organizations

Last week, in “What’s Trending in Big Iron to Big Data,” we looked at two key trends that were predicted in our “State of the Mainframe” survey that are proving to be current Big Data analytics initiatives for customers. Now, let’s look at three additional predicted mainframe trends that are tracking as IT strategies at many of the world’s leading companies.

Trend 1 — Security and Compliance Mandates will be Key Drivers for Technology Evaluations and Purchases

The survey shows that reducing security exposures, fulfilling audit requirements, and addressing compliance mandates has become a key initiative for IT executives and IT organizations. The cost of conducting an audit, or even worse failing a compliance mandate, far exceeds the cost of the technologies that can be put into place to help address security and compliance initiatives.

As a result, organizations will be budgeting for and purchasing technologies that assist in addressing these types of requirements. When asked to rank the top corporate objectives for improvement over the next 12 months, “meeting security and compliance requirements” was job one! Not only is this proving to be true with our customers, but industry analysts and partners are confirming it to be a hot trend as well.

In fact, our partner Compuware has introduced recently announced the availability of Application Audit, an innovative cybersecurity and compliance solution that dramatically enhances the ability of enterprises to stop insider threats by fully capturing and analyzing start-to-finish mainframe application user behavior. Application Audit’s integration with Syncsort Ironstream enables IT to more quickly discover and take action on security issues and application faults.

Mainframe Trends -- Meeting Security and Compliance Requirements

Mainframe Trends: In Syncsort’s “State of the Mainframe” survey report, Security and Compliance topped the list of key corporate priorities ahead of maintaining service-level agreements and reducing CPU usage and related costs.

Trend 2 — Technologies Addressing the Diminishing Pool of Mainframe Talent Will Be In Demand

Mainframe organizations understand that subject-matter experts are aging and retiring. The “State of the Mainframe” survey found that close to 64% of organizations with mainframes need to hire new mainframers in the 5 years. These respondents were almost evenly split between feeling confident versus being concerned about filling the skill gap.

Download this free eBook to see how Big Iron has become critical to Big Data.

That said, the dynamic is different when organizations replace experienced mainframers with “newbies.” New IT professionals entering organizations are not coming in with the exposure and experience needed to backfill for those departing mainframe subject-matter experts. In particular, they are unfamiliar with the tools and technologies in use in z/OS environments.

As a remedy, we are seeing our customers starting to arm themselves with tools architected for newer and familiar technologies such as easy search, reporting, and analytics facilities, so they can address the same issues as their predecessors without having to immerse themselves in the intricacies of older toolsets. We are seeing more organizations adding technologies that can be used to meet corporate challenges.

Mainframe Trends -- Meeting Mainframe Staffing Requirements
In the “State of the Mainframe Study,” when asked about their mainframe staffing needs, about 64% of organizations with mainframes need to hire new mainframers in the next 5 years, and are split in their confidence in being able to fill the gap.

Related: Breathing New Life into the Mainframe

Trend 3 — Traditional Mainframe-Based Tools and Batch Processes Will Yield Ground to New Tech

More and more organizations are building data lakes or moving data to emerging Big Data platforms to set-up powerful Big Data analytics. In the mainframe survey, Syncsort found that Hadoop is the current platform of choice with 23% or respondents already consuming mainframe data in Hadoop.

For existing mainframe tools, most of the analytical capabilities require post-processing of data that does not lend itself to anything like real-time analysis. Actionable analysis does not happen until the “next day” when batch offload processes have completed. As organizations are challenged to determine root-cause issues and resolve problems in a timelier manner, they will continue to drive toward more automated solutions requiring minimal batch processing and human interaction to generate required analytics.

More Mainframe Trends

For an in-depth look at mainframe trends and the shifts happening in IT strategy and priorities this year, download the free eBook: State of the Mainframe for 2017

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