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VNU Net: Mainframes may be making a comeback

Feb 09, 2001, 17:17 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bryan Glick)

"There are some large SAP users seriously considering moving off Unix and onto the mainframe, says Rakesh Kumar, program director at analyst Meta Group. Large-scale back-office software such as SAP was meant to hasten the mainframe's death, and the internet would strike the fatal blow, but: "As SAP users get above one terabyte of data in a single Unix database, they are coming across performance bottlenecks," said Kumar. Massive volumes of information are being generated by the web; Kumar estimates that data growth rates of 700 per cent per year are common, and the biggest Unix databases are struggling to cope. "The alternative is to use a mainframe," he says."

"For most users, this isn't a problem just yet. Kumar knows of just two companies in the UK which are facing this issue, a distribution company and a large retailer. But moving back to the mainframe is becoming a serious option for the large, opinion-leading IT users, and where they go, the rest follow."

"IBM's website promotes its new z900 mainframe as costing "$500 per Linux image". The mainframe, a low-cost option? Of course, it's not as simple as that. There's all the operational skills needed, and the political unwillingness to take what some see as a backward step. But Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, Compaq and even IBM are all developing more 'mainframe-like' features for their biggest Unix systems."

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