Mainframe servers to survive x86 competition

A Gartner analyst reckons that mainframes are likely to face increasing pressure from x86-based servers in the next five to 10 years.

Mainframes will continue to be favored by new and existing users as vendors such as IBM listen to their feedback and integrate solutions into the platform. That said, a Gartner analyst reckons that mainframes are likely to face increasing pressure from x86-based servers in the next five to 10 years.

Errol Rasit, principal research analyst at the research firm, said that in the case of dominant mainframe vendor Big Blue, its System z revenues "have been stable over the last decade" despite products such as x86-based servers coming into the market. This is indicative of the continued relevance of mainframes in today's IT environment, said the analyst.

The analyst indicated that customer loyalty is driven in part by Big Blue taking users' feedback onboard and coming out with technologies such as its zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and Unified Resource Manager.

These technologies were introduced earlier in July as part of the company's hybrid mainframe offering, which aims to link up its system with other industry standard servers. The zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager, for instance, allows existing mainframe users to manage their workloads across different IBM server platforms, thus reducing datacenter sprawl.

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