Retire the Mainframe? No Way, Says Ensono

Customers need to make the mainframe a first-class citizen in their data strategies, says Ensono’s North American managing director.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

June 4, 2024

3 Min Read
Ensono's managing director of North America emphasized her company's belief in the mainframe computer.

With the mainframe recently turning 60 years old, there’s been talk of retiring the technology. However, organizations should put those retirement plans on hold, said Ensono.

The top firm on Channel Futures’ 2023 MSP 501 list is making the case that the modern cloud-connected mainframe is central to any successful data and AI strategy.

The mainframe remains an important part of the technology ecosystem, said Paola Doebel, Ensono senior vice president and managing director of North America. But it must be leveraged effectively.


“Seventy percent of sales enterprise data lives on a mainframe,” she said. “So if you don’t have a plan to make your mainframe a first-class citizen within the broader context of your data strategy, then [it's] highly inefficient to get to that data. It’s going to cost you a lot of money, [and it’s] potentially not that usable. Or you’re going to not be able to access it at all.”

Modernizing the Mainframe

Indeed, according to Forrester, more than two-thirds of IT hardware decision-makers still lean on mainframes to operate. Ensono’s position is that instead of companies moving off the mainframe, they should be looking to modernize instead.

“[If] you look at the history of mainframes, it was separated within a company – no one’s allowed to touch it unless you’re an expert at mainframes. You definitely weren’t going to develop applications or code in the cloud and drop it onto the mainframe. There was a huge separation within the company, within the expertise,” said Doebel.

Related:Big Names Get ’24 Google Cloud Partner of the Year Nods

Bringing the mainframe to the forefront of your data strategy involves its proximity to everything else, she added. Doebel points to Ensono’s collaboration with Microsoft, AWS and IBM, describing them as “the backbone of the innovation” to help co-locate the mainframe close to the cloud.

“The integration patterns were developed between our technology partners, AWS, Microsoft, and IBM. So now you can use modern code and languages to [for] app dev in the cloud and production on the mainframe, or to access the mainframe data," she said.

“You put all the pieces together [and] you have a modern architecture that supports a data strategy that would enable some new advancements around data lake technology.”

New Ensono Managed Service

Elsewhere, Ensono also plans to bring to market a new managed service to market that mirrors how clients have gotten more sophisticated in their utilization of cloud and multicloud.

“As clients have evolved in their hyperscale multicloud environment, the way that they need their managed services delivered has changed. So we are recrafting our multicloud managed service,” said Doebel.

Related:Ensono to Double in Size with Wipro's Hosted Data-Center Services Business

“Clients are getting more sophisticated in their utilization of cloud capabilities. So that means service providers’ service has to evolve. For example, once you’ve done the basics, imagine cloud-as-infrastructure. You have to take a step forward to provide something else. Maybe a flex engineering service where the client can use a service provider’s capabilities to do DevOps, or application monitoring – not just the basic service.

“Then you go you take a step further up the mountain. Now they need an SRE [site reliability engineering] service. A lot of companies have these in piece meal, we’re looking at providing a set of Lego blocks that the client can put together as they need. That sounds really logical, but it’s actually really difficult to create a service description, a statement of work, around something that evolves. And the industry didn’t do that up until now.”

About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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