IBM’s recent quarterly earnings report offers a brief insight into the state of the mainframe. Just looking at server hardware revenues shows a huge increase in IBM z Systems sales. Sales have more than doubled when compared to the same period last year. This also only offers part of the picture as z Systems is a much bigger ecosystem than just the metal.
This is an incredible result for IBM and for the mainframe industry.
Part of the reason for this result might be the recent availability of the new IBM z13. They started shipping March and this early result indicates IBM’s mainframe momentum is building, rather than slowing.
It’s also clear from IBM’s recent messaging that the acquisition of SoftLayer and the transition to a full blown cloud computing company hasn’t come at the expense of their mainframe division. This isn’t a mistake: cloud and mainframe have a long history together. In fact it could be said that the first cloud computing environments were built on IBM mainframes, long before the term “cloud” become popular.
The proof is in the pudding: customers are still buying mainframes, and it appears in much higher volume than many industry pundits expected.
Not only is this good news for IBM, it’s good news for IBM customers who will benefit from ongoing innovation in this space. A healthy mainframe sector leads to ongoing advancement in the space and it’s clear the shutters aren’t rolling down any time soon.