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Mainframe Cloud? That's Nuts!

Mitch Wagner

Mainframe cloud sounds like a ridiculous idea, like a rotary dial on an iPhone or a self-driving Model T Ford. But IBM says a mainframe cloud makes sense.

IBM is crowing about a deal to bring insurer Chubb from the mainframe to the cloud. Chubb, a property and casualty insurance company, wants to enhance productivity, agility, improve user experience and enhance cost efficiency by migrating to the cloud.

IBM will migrate Chubb's mainframe (a.k.a. z System) development and testing to the IBM Cloud, as well as providing cloud storage and security services.

IBM at first encountered resistance from Chubb on migrating to the cloud. "They were quite convinced the cloud didn't have much meaning to them," Jim Comfort, general manager of IBM system service, tells Light Reading. "They're a mainframe shop."

But Chubb was concerned its development and test was not keeping up with competitors, and they wanted the benefit of analytics, Comfort said.

Following Chubb's $29.7 billion merger with ACE Ltd. in Jan. 2016, the combined companies tapped IBM to move mainframe applications to IBM Cloud, running the applications as services. Previously, ACE had its own data centers and equipment, and Chubb was in IBM data centers but Chubb owned the equipment. Now it's all consolidated in the cloud, Comfort said.

The company is also moving its x86 development environment to IBM Cloud, saving on underutilized resources and improving agility.

Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

And Chubb is using IBM object storage for long-term record retention, to respond to audits and regulatory requirements, Comfort said.

Chubb declined to comment to Light Reading, referring queries to IBM.

Moving mainframe apps to the cloud sounds wacky. But it makes sense from a business standpoint. As long as apps keep working -- and mainframe apps last forever -- it's foolish to go to the time and effort of rewriting them. Migrating those applications to the cloud provides agility and other cloud benefits, while also building a platform for future growth.

And a rotary dial for an iPhone and self-driving Model T? Those have been done -- though the iPhone rotary dialer is really just a non-functional iPhone case, and the self-driving antique car was the 1928 Porter Stanhope Touring Car.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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