Australian mainframes breaking the budget

On the same day that the South Australian Government announced that its spending $33 million to expand a mainframe services contract, a survey has revealed that Australian mainframe users are paying through the nose for their loyalty to the platform.

On the same day that the South Australian Government announced that its spending $33 million to expand a mainframe services contract, a survey has revealed that Australian mainframe users are paying through the nose for their loyalty to the platform.

Australian mainframe users spent 30 per cent of their annual IT budget, the most of any of the markets surveyed, according to a survey of 590 IT decision makers, 35 of which were in Australia, commissioned by Micro Focus. It was spent on operating, maintaining and improving the integrity of their mainframe applications

Eleven per cent of those Australian mainframe users had allocated between 40 and 50 per cent of their annual budget to maintain their mainframes, annually.

In comparison, New Zealand and UK firms spent only about 23 and 25 per cent, respectively, on maintaining their mainframes.

Unfortunately, the costs of maintaining mainframes was also on the rise, according to 49 per cent of respondents, due to unexpected increases in workload processing power, higher licensing costs relating to mainframe million instructions per minute (MIPS) and business increases.

And, prior research has shown that Australia's love affair with the mainframe is hardly over. A global study conducted two years ago, by business services company BMC, said that companies thought that mainframes were there to stay.

Of the 71 Australian respondents, 94 per cent said that they believed the mainframe was a viable platform. None of the respondents said that they planned to stop using the platform in the near future.

"As a transaction engine, they just are the simplest example of how that system works," BMC's director of mainframe James Russell told ZDNet Australia at the time, and explained that it was efficient, reliable, centralised and easy to manage.

Bruce Craig, country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Micro Focus, said that it was important to conduct applications management to prioritise what applications are provided with expensive processing power.

Of the respondents, 61 per cent saw value in managing their application portfolio, with 74 per cent saying that they would like to be able to migrate applications "as is" to other platforms.

Twenty-nine per cent of businesses said that they offload application testing to another environment. Although 72 per cent do application testing on the mainframe, only 43 per cent have enough MIPS to do so efficiently, according to the survey.

"This research highlights that IT is increasingly becoming an asset management problem," said Craig.

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