Mainframe Migration to Microsoft® Azure® on Your Terms

Use proven strategies for mainframe workload migration and modernization.

Mainframes are still in wide use today for business-critical applications in many industries. According to a 2021 survey by IBM, 71 percent of executives say mainframe-based applications are central to their business strategies.1 The applications most identified as running on mainframes were financial-management systems (93 percent), customer-transaction systems of record (73 percent), human resources (HR) systems (62 percent), and supply-chain-management systems of record (58 percent).1

“Today, 45 of the top 50 banks, 4 of the top 5 airlines, 7 of the top 10 global retailers, and 67 of the Fortune 100 companies leverage the mainframe as their core platform.” — IBM1

While mainframes have been entrenched for decades, the last few years have seen tremendous growth in the newer model of cloud computing, including hybrid clouds and multiclouds. In one survey, 89 percent of global cloud decision makers said their organizations had multicloud strategies.2 In another survey, more than three quarters of IT professionals indicated that their organizations had deployed at least one application using a hybrid-cloud delivery model, and nearly half (46 percent) said that they had deployed multiple applications that way.3 Clearly the trend in modernizing data centers is toward creating private clouds and integrating with public clouds.

But what about mainframe modernization and the cloud? Can mainframe applications feasibly be migrated to the cloud? Are there opportunities to modernize mainframe workloads to take advantage of capabilities such as rapid code release and fast access to data that are hallmarks of cloud computing? What kind of effort would such modernization and cloud migration entail, and what might be the return on investment? Is such an effort as difficult and risky as it is sometimes perceived, or do the maturity and best practices of the cloud ecosystem address those perceived risks?