Mainframe the relic of proprietary computing

In the 3rd Industrial Revolution, the mainframe was the biggest thing! Every business needed one, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to survive. Decades later, they’re still among us and I just learned that research shows each human interacts about 14 times a day with such a mainframe. If I remember correctly, the research was done in Switzerland or Germany, or both of them. Obviously, the end user is unaware that he interacts with a mainframe, but many of the financial and insurance industries are still using mainframe technology at the core of their application.

The Challenge

Mainframes cost a huge amount of money. They’re success comes mainly because they run a very stable and reliable environment. As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, companies are under high cost pressures and a project to replace the mainframe costs a lot of money and time. It’s fair to say that the mainframe poses to be one of the biggest potential to cut costs, but it’s also one of the most difficult ones.

As we all know, it is often for CIOs to oppose larger migrations and sometimes they even have conflicting priorities.

The digital transformation has officially started and it’s absolutely crucial for any industry or any company regardless of size to make the IT more agile, otherwise they will lose out. Many of todays competitors that have a disruptive business model, already profit from lower costs and higher agility in their IT operations.

The Solution

The company LzLabs is developing a software container based on Red Hat Linux, that allows you to run the same cobalt code you’ve been running now for years on your mainframe. It’s  called LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe.

The reason why this is so spectacular is because you don’t need to touch your source code. You don’t even need to compile it again, which is what other solutions do. But with the new compilers, there is still a risk that something is not working as it should.

With the containers from LzLabs, you just take it as it is. It even allows you to leverage the compute of the public cloud and they’ve partnered with Microsoft. The first tests have been super promising. They have been able to achieve better performance vs. the traditional mainframe on premise.

The LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe is capable of processing thousands of transactions per second. At the same time, it’s maintaining enterprise requirements such as reliability, availability, serviceability, and security.

At the power of Azure to the mix and you have the power in your hands. In the cloud you have more computer, storage, and network at your fingertip than you’ll ever need. Once in the cloud, you will soon realize that there are many other services that will provide great value to your Application, with Machine Learning, BigData, and PowerBI to analyze, gain insights in your data, and take action.

To learn more about this startup, please visit their website: they feature a nice video on the home page that will give you an introduction to the what and why.

I wish them the best of luck for their business and look forward to seeing all these legacy environments moving to the mobile first, cloud first world.

Written by Dave Kurth
Thriving within my current role as Product Marketing Manager, I am the leader and voice of the Microsoft Azure within the Swiss subsidiary. Views are my own.