Kyndryl Expands Microsoft Alliance with IBM Mainframe to Cloud Services

The companies are enabling Microsoft cloud services and Power Platform integration with mainframes.

Jeffrey Schwartz

October 6, 2022

3 Min Read
Cloud data center

Managed services provider Kyndryl has again expanded its partnership with Microsoft to provide IBM mainframe integration and migration. Kyndryl on Thursday said it is working with Microsoft to create data pipelines between IBM mainframes and Microsoft cloud services.

The latest initiative comes just over three months after the companies agreed to provide Azure Managed Services. Microsoft was the first strategic alliance partner Kyndryl announced nearly a year ago following its divestiture from IBM.

With its IBM heritage, while Kyndryl now positions itself as a vendor-agnostic MSP, it has substantial mainframe integration capabilities. Those capabilities include Kyndryl’s zCloud platform, the company’s secure and multitenant platform for scaling business-critical workloads. According to Kyndryl, large enterprise customers want to use Microsoft’s cloud-based AI, analytics and machine learning services with mainframe data.


Kyndryl’s Harish Grama

“This really offers our mainframe customers the ability to modernize their mainframe without completely getting off it,” Harish Grama, Kyndryl global practice leader for cloud services, told Channel Futures. “There’s so much data in these mainframes, and it encompasses so much business intelligence that you could glean from it by applying AI and ML methodologies.”

Mainframes Remain Critical

Many of Kyndryl’s largest enterprise customers have mainframes, Grama noted, and many plan to keep them. BMC Software, which released its annual mainframe survey of more than 1,000 customers on Thursday, reported 95% remain committed to mainframes. Also, the survey showed that they’re adding new workloads to them.

Earlier this year, IBM launched its latest z16 mainframe. Among them, 65% of respondents include their AIOps in their mainframe environments, and 70% use them for DevOps. The BMC survey also found that 40% struggle with mainframe staffing and skills.

Grama said that while many customers may migrate from their mainframes eventually, others see them as a strategic part of their hybrid environments. But for those with legacy environments such as 1960s era PL/I, “those are hard to take off the mainframe and completely rewrite,” Grama said. “But they certainly want to extend that to clouds to innovate on. And then you’ve got others with just plain COBOL application on the cloud, and we’ll partner with them off the mainframe completely.”

Improving Data Visualization with Power Platform

A key focus of customer engagements will be tying Microsoft’s low code, no code Power Platform to mainframes. Microsoft’s Power Platform consists of various tools optimized for users who aren’t developers.

The most widely used Power Platform offering is Power BI, which enables sophisticated visualizations and the creation of interactive dashboards. It also includes Power Automate for automating business processes and Power Virtual Agents for creating intelligent bots. Microsoft earlier this year expanded Power Platform with Power Apps and Power Pages to create websites.

Last month, Microsoft introduced new collaboration capabilities to Power Platform. Among them were Cards for Power Apps, a new option for creating small apps within Microsoft Teams and Outlook. Microsoft also plans to add co-authoring to Power Apps and a new virtual agent for those who create learning content.

The tools in Power Platform will help organizations that need – or choose – to keep their data on mainframes, use modern cloud-based visualization tools, Kyndryl’ s Grama said. Kyndryl will provide its new mainframe migration offering to Microsoft cloud services through consulting implementation and data management services. The purpose is “to get access to the mainframe data stored in various different data sources, which previously required some fairly sophisticated programming and sometimes not even possible, to tap into,” he said.

Grama added that customers also want “to be able to mine that information, to be able to apply models and train it and use artificial intelligence to visualize and to make business decisions on it.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


Read more about:

VARs/SIsChannel Research

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like