AWS comes after mainframe (again)

AWS at their recent reinvent conference announced they are coming after the mainframe again.  AWS has made pretty much the same announcement at every one of the last three Re:Invent conferences.   So what did AWS announce?  Well not much of anything, in reality the announcement on December 3rd was a coming soon placeholder.  As we dig into the AWS blog they acknowledge the breadth of the deployment of the mainframe platform stating “More than 70 percent of the Fortune 500 companies still run business-critical applications on mainframes…”  AWS then go onto roll out the tired narrative of slow development cycles, expensive usage fees and skills gaps all of which IBM can easily address and have been debunked comprehensively over the last few years if not in the early 200’0s.

AWS then goes on to state “recognizing the complexity of a mainframe migration, our customers seek proven methodologies, tools, and best practices to empower successful migrations.” What is offered as a solution to the ‘complexity of a mainframe migration’?  Well, nothing meaty, no large scale references, no in-depth architectures or processes.  Rather the blog goes on to list a random assortment of companies who are members of the AWS Partner Network and sit within the AWS Migration Competency.  The blog goes on to say that these Partners are “vetted, validated and verified against a high bar” without stating any details about the vetting, validation or verification process and what the bar actually is.

The partners listed include Micro Focus who have been in the business of doing COBOL emulation for decades and even themselves admit that they see COBOL as strategic.  In a recent press release by the Linux Foundation they declared their apparent adoration for the mainframe platform stating ““As long-standing vendors of robust mainframe technology, Micro Focus understands the mainframe world very well,” Neil Fowler, General Manager, Application Modernization and Connectivity Product Group at Micro Focus. “We’re delighted to join the growing community of practitioners at Open Mainframe Project who are looking at open source collaboration as a means to maximizing the value from their mainframe environment.”  So we have to ask which Micro Focus has joined the AWS Partner Network?

AWS then goes onto list the other members of this new initiative.  Blu Age is first up, this powerhouse leading-edge company (irony intended), with their 36 employees according to LinkedIn, who is apparently to be trusted with a mainframe migration because they have experience of RPG application migration.  As we all know RPG runs on the I-Series platform so hardly a mainframe, again AWS proving they don’t understand the mainframe space at all.  Then comes Advanced Modern Systems, who have 122 employees according to LinkedIn and are to be trusted with a mainframe migration because they moved an application at the New York Times, that huge strategic company that is the vanguard of mainframe technology (sorry I can’t help myself). Finally in this list of companies comes TSRI with 27 employees according to LinkedIn, hardly a who’s who of cutting edge industry powerhouse companies to trust your risky migration to…

So are we to believe that these companies with a total employee count of 185 employees are to be trusted to refactor you mainframe code and undertake a risky migration to a commodity cloud platform based on their thin experience?

Then come the big consulting houses of Infosys, Delotte and TCS in this rogues gallery.  Of course consulting businesses would have no ulterior motive to convince a client to embark on a risky mainframe migration, especially when they charge their services by the day.  Definition of conflict of interest anyone?

What is IBM’s response to this non-announcement? Precisely nothing.  Why would we? This the definition of not being newsworthy or impactful to clients.  This is the same rehashed messaging that AWS has come out with for the last 3-years without ever dropping anything meaningful to follow.

Move along and expect the same old rehashed messaging from AWS 12-months from now…

One thought on “AWS comes after mainframe (again)

  1. Very interesting blog as usual Steven, I normally do not comment but felt the need to this time. Complacency kills and we (IBM) cannot be complacent. This time may actually be a little different, This is the first time after one of these events that I have had Amazon recruiters come after me. I did not attend the event so they did not get my name off a list of attendees. That tells me they are serious about their recruiting efforts since they targeted me and from their initial pitch, it was apparent that they done their homework on me. They are quite aggressive and also have lots of $$, stock options, and other enticements to lure people away from IBM Z. I am sure I’m not the only person to hear from them. If we are not careful, and start losing good, experienced, skilled people to them, we will have problems.


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