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Bridging the Technology Divide: How Mainframe as a Service Delivers Flexibility, Innovation while Driving Down Costs

Today’s state and local government agencies as well as educational institutions must be able to respond to an array of requirements and speed applications critical to the organization. To do so, they are expected to leverage leading-edge IT to provide social services and support to their citizens and communities. Otherwise, they risk failing the populations they are dedicated to serving.

In a perfect world, organizations could modernize their IT and Mainframe technology quickly to meet unexpected requirements. Ideally, IT resources would be readily available for as long as they are required. Processing and storage capacity could scale seamlessly to meet demands – and technicians would be able to assess and deliver the necessary capacity to support new capabilities. Unfortunately, the current reality is far less than ideal and actually puts many state, local and educational (SLED) organizations well behind the IT curve.

Behind the IT Curve & Missing Opportunities
The majority of SLED organizations rely on mainframe computers to run their applications and use traditional IT procurement models, wherein any and all requirements are carefully assessed and IT resources are meticulously determined, to refresh and replace equipment.  A formal procurement action can take months or longer to prepare and execute.  New or additional IT resources can take weeks or months to order, deliver, install and make “Ready for Use.”  While trudging through this long process, windows of opportunity can be and indeed are often missed.

Moreover, far too many organizations are relying on mainframe hardware that is often reaching its end of life. ViON is currently working to help a large metropolitan agency dealing with this predicament. Under tight budget constraints and tied to a traditional procurement model, the City could not find a way to effectively replace or upgrade its mainframe or storage hardware.

While waiting for budget to become available, the City’s mainframe vendor announced that its equipment will no longer be serviced or supported as of January 1, 2017. As multiple critical applications are running on this mainframe, the City began reaching out to third-party companies to support and service its mainframe. While these third-party support companies are providing stop-gap maintenance services, the City is however, stranded in the technology past with very little means of moving forward.

Obviously, this puts the City in an incredibly risky position. They are several IT cycles behind current demands, including vital citywide services from health and human services to DMV and tax departments, which are essentially in the hands of a third-party support company. Moreover, critical applications that support baseline governance activities rest on the availability of scarce or reconditioned parts.

How ViON MFaaS Bridges the Divide
To bridge the technology divide, ViON’s Mainframe as a Service (MFaaS) delivers the flexibility the City – and any enterprise – using a traditional IT procurement model would not have otherwise.  With MFaaS, organizations can use Operational rather than Capital Expense (OpEx vs. CapEx) to access the mainframe compute and storage resources required for normal operations. ViON owns and pays for maintenance and upgrades to the mainframe infrastructure, which immediately translates to dramatic cost- and risk-avoidance.

Once the MFaaS contract is in place, ViON’s comprehensive service catalog delineates mainframe capacity, functions and capabilities into simple and easily orderable service line items, which can be used to quickly ramp up mainframe capacity to meet unique requirements.  Incremental changes can easily be applied to match the true needs of an application. Both the IT and the procurement departments can avoid rushed acquisitions that often result in over-buying.  Plus, 24/7/365 support is always on-hand.

ViON’s MFaaS not only provides the agility modern agencies are required to possess, but also gives mainframe service providers the freedom and flexibility to leverage leading edge technology approaches. For example, organizations can utilize Linux on mainframe systems to consolidate distributed servers that have been rampantly multiplying, enhance IT reliability and even take advantage of cloud computing safely. Organizations can use open source KVM virtualization on mainframe in addition to PR/SM and z/VM to foster innovation and drive down costs by allowing extreme sharing of system resources across departments or even multiple agencies. In addition, when it comes to separation and isolation of workloads, mainframe’s EAL5+ Common Criteria certification provides peace of mind and distinction for organizations.

With MFaaS, organizations can move from a rough reality to the modern IT ideal of superior flexibility, responsiveness and innovation. To learn more about how ViON MFaaS delivers capacity and capabilities that are typically out-of-reach with traditional Mainframe procurement models, contact us at info@vion.com.

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