Getting Your Boss to Love Your Mainframe

You know why your mainframe is so valuable to the business. But does your boss? If not, you need to sell him or her on the mainframe to ensure that you are able to continue deriving value from it. Here’s how…

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Boss not showing your mainframe love? We’ve got 5 talking points to help them see mainframe value

The Mainframe Image Problem

It’s an understatement to say that mainframes suffer from an image problem. For the typical person, the term mainframe conjures images of gigantic, vacuum-tube powered machines that ceased to be cutting-edge before many of today’s system engineers were even born.

Of course, if you work with mainframes, you know that this image is inaccurate and unfair. Many of today’s mainframes are sleek and built with the latest technologies. Mainframes remain mission-critical parts of the IT infrastructures that power many businesses today. And there remains much that businesses can do to make their mainframes even more useful.

But if your boss is not plugged in to the world of modern mainframes, he or she likely does not appreciate just how important they are.

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That’s why it is your job to convince him or her of the value of your mainframe. The goal is to ensure that you continue to receive the support from management that you require to keep driving business value with your mainframe.

Tips for Selling Your Boss on Mainframe Value

Explaining to your boss why, exactly, your mainframe matters so much can be challenging, especially if your boss lacks the technical background to understand talk about CPU cores and memory caches.

But it’s possible to communicate mainframe value effectively if you focus on how mainframe improves the bottom line of the business. Consider talking points like the following:

1. Mainframes are cheaper than cloud.

Your boss has probably heard all about cloud computing. He or she probably also knows that clouds cost huge amounts of money – whether you build your own private cloud (in which case the costs are mostly up-front capital expenses) or rely on the public cloud (which means paying ongoing operating expenses).

Point out that the mainframe you already own, which has a massive compute and storage capacity, can provide much of the same functionality as the cloud without the huge expense. In other words, explain how mainframes can reduce the money your business needs to spend on the cloud (and other infrastructure, for that matter).

See also: Why Mainframes Matter in the Age of Cloud Computing

2. Mainframes last a long, long time.

The useful life expectancy of a commodity server is about four years. (The hardware can last longer in many cases, but it becomes too slow compared to newer servers.) In contrast, mainframes can remain useful for decades.

3. Everyone’s using mainframes.

Well, OK, not everyone is using mainframes. But mainframes remain a crucial part of the infrastructures at businesses in a number of major industries. Knowing this can help your boss to appreciate why using mainframes is not as strange or outdated as it may first seem.

4. Mainframes are modern.

You don’t have to walk your boss through all the technical nuances of mainframes, but at least point out that today’s mainframes are built with cutting-edge hardware and deliver performance that commodity servers just can’t match. You might give your boss a briefing on the data protection features in IBM’s current mainframes, for example. IBM mainframes can encrypt data eighteen times faster than regular servers.

5. Mainframes are compatible with DevOps, Docker and more.

Your boss likely does not realize that mainframes can support the latest software delivery methodologies and technologies. Point out that you can do DevOps on the mainframe, run Docker containers on the mainframe and more. Indeed, since you can install Linux on a mainframe, you can do on a mainframe anything that you can do in the cloud or on a commodity on-premise server. The difference is just that the mainframe does it a lot faster in most cases.

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Your boss doesn’t need to appreciate the technical dimensions of mainframes as much as you. If you can convince him or her of the value that the mainframe provides to the business, you’ll help to ensure that you continue to receive the support you need to keep your mainframe running smoothly for years to come.

Syncsort has a strong focus on helping organizations optimize resources and control costs on the mainframe, and helping to access and integrate mainframe with next-generation analytic environments for valuable operational and business insights.

Download Syncsort’s latest eBook: Mainframe and Machine Learning for IT Service Intelligence to review how an ITSI solution with machine learning capabilities can provide a comprehensive view of your organization’s service delivery, allowing you to effectively set SLAs, identify potential problems, and plan for changes in the IT environment.

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