The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for mainframe-based organizations, in particular the need to conduct on-site hardware and software maintenance.  That has especially led to consideration of cost-effective cloud data management options as an alternative to legacy mainframe storage platforms.

Evidence is abundant.  In recent months, businesses have learned that cloud growth is largely pandemic-proof and may actually have accelerated. According to Synergy Research Group, Q1 spend on cloud infrastructure services reached $29 billion, up 37% from the first quarter of 2019.  Furthermore, according to Synergy, anecdotal evidence points to some COVID-19-related market growth as additional enterprise workloads appear to have been pushed onto public clouds.  And, according to a recent article in Economic Times, IBM Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna has indicated that the pandemic has also heightened interest in hybrid cloud, with transformations that were planned to last for years now being compressed into months.

For organizations built around mainframe technology, these trends underscore an opportunity that has become an urgent need during the pandemic, namely the question of how to reduce or eliminate dependence on on-premises storage assets such as physical tapes – which are still the main reason for needing personnel to access on-prem equipment.

Although essential for many daily operations as well as for routine backup or disaster recovery, these physical assets depend too heavily on having access to a facility and having trained personnel available on site.

Furthermore, they can be expensive to acquire, maintain, and operate.  Additionally, on-prem hardware depends on other physical infrastructure that requires on-site maintenance such as air conditioning and electrical power systems. That was a tolerable situation in the past, but the reality of the pandemic, with lockdowns, transportation problems and the potential health threats to staff is leading mainframe operators to consider modern alternatives to many traditional on-prem mainframe storage options.

Cloud data manager for mainframe

One industry-leading example is the Model9 Cloud Data Manager for Mainframe, which securely delivers mainframe data to any cloud or commodity storage platform, eliminating the dependency on physical and virtual tape alike. It leverages reliable and cost-effective cloud storage for mainframe backup, archive, recovery, and space management purposes.

Needless to say, in the event of emergencies ranging from natural disasters to global pandemics, having mainframe data secured in the cloud means organizations can count on continued smooth operations with few if any people required on site.  And, on an ongoing basis, Model9 also helps unlock mainframe data by transforming it to universal formats that can be used by advanced cloud-based analytics tools, providing more options for making use of corporate data.

It is a future-proof approach that enhances mainframe operations, adds resiliency, helps control costs, and provides a path to better leverage corporate information in a more flexible and cost-effective manner.