The move to the cloud is inevitable according to most, if not all, industry analysts (see below for IDC’s perspective).  According to these analysts the  benefits far outweigh the challenges for the majority, but certainly not all clients. Certain clients will, quite rightly, for security or data sovereignty reasons stay on premise (if for instance there is not a cloud provider in their country).  Other reasons to stay on premise are where clients have strategically invested in skills and their infrastructure and consider their private infrastructure on par with what they can get from a cloud provider. However, from my discussions with clients, well the smaller clients at least,  we are witnessing a rush to the cloud by a vast majority of small to mid-tier clients, and the data supports this not only for the mainframe, but also for other platforms.

According to Gartner’s – State of the Cloud Report, link to which is here:

  • The worldwide cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5% in 2016 to total $204Bn, up from $175Bn in 2015  according to Gartner.
  • The highest Growth will come from cloud system services (IaaS) which is projected to grow 38.4% in 2016.
  • “This strong growth continues reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy.” – Sid Nag, Research Director Gartner

The generic benefits of moving to any cloud include:

  • Pay as you grow pricing
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership
  • 24×7 support
  • Improved back-up and failover
  • Easy Agile deployment
  • Lower CapEx
  • Frees up internal resources
  • Allows focus on core competency not IT provision
  • Agile Deployment
  • Reduces dependency on in house skills

Against this backdrop some Mainframe ISV’s are holding their clients to ransom, or at best running scared of being part of what is a pervasive trend.  In a recent discussion one ISV, that won’t be named, is asking the cloud vendor to buy license entitlement  again, even though the client already owns enough license entitlement.  This effectively doubles the cost for the end client because the cloud vendor has to pass on these draconian costs to its client.  Other ISV’s put up roadblock after roadblock to any cloud transition, all the while looking to profit from any change in the licensing model.

Some more innovative and forward thinking ISV’s are working to assist their clients with modernising their mainframe operational delivery model and bending over backwards to support their clients transition to the cloud.  By supporting clients as they change from an on-premise to an off-premise multi-tenant model, these ISV’s are showing a level of flexibility and strategic alignment with their clients requirements that will surely lead to further investment in their solutions. Check out what David Stokes from CA recently blogged on this subject for a perspective on ISV best practice (David can be followed on Twitter at @DHS_Mainframe).

IBM with its  Cloud Managed Services on z Systems or zCloud offering is looking to partner with mainframe ISV’s to deliver a rich and diverse ecosystem for cloud clients, with zero lock in or lack of flexibility.  This public, multi-tenant, virtualised, approach is different to the single tenant, on premise model of traditional outsourcing, and is driving a different dynamic in the decision of how to successfully run your mainframe operations. This model requires flexibility and in many cases a different approach from he mainframe ISV’s and therefore, IBM are keen to engage with the ISV community in an open way to highlight how through flexible licensing terms clients can now and prosper on the mainframe in the cloud.  For any mainframe ISV who wants to be innovative and forward thinking then get in touch via @stevendickens3