"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
"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."