SAS Institute hasn’t given up on the mainframe as a key platform for analysis after integrating its flagship business intelligence product with IBM’s System z and introducing new sub-capacity pricing for customers.
The Cary, North Carolina-based company has revealed a new pricing structure for its Enterprise Intelligence BI platform, which it claims allows IBM’s System z mainframe customers to scale up their application environments.
SAS said the move towards so-called sub-capacity pricing is reflective of an industry trend towards server consolidation.
SAS has partnered with IBM and its BI and analytic systems have run on mainframes for decades.
It only makes sense to ensure the mainframe can support advances in BI, said Jim Davis, chief marketing officer of SAS.
SAS isn’t the only BI vendor betting on the mainframe. IBM recently outlined a licensing strategy for its zSeries Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) that lets customers host data-heavy BI and data warehousing processing workloads on its zOS operating system at an affordable cost. Like SAS, IBM wants to recast the mainframe as a more affordable platform for BI.
A lot of BI applications have moved off the mainframe because there was a perception that it was too costly to host them there, said Jim Stallings, general manager of IBM’s System z mainframe division in a recent interview.
The mainframe is alive and kicking, especially in mission-critical, high-volume transactional environments like financial services. Research shows that mainframe revenues are rising and MIPS capacity is at an all-time high. These are points not lost on BI vendors. However, cost has always been the barrier for mainframe computing.
Vendors like SAS and IBM are now introducing new pricing strategies that make it a more affordable proposition. For vendors with a vested interest in keeping the mainframe alive, like IBM, the move is also an attempt to reverse the flow of mainframe data and workloads to distributed environments and pull big iron data warehousing applications back onto the mainframe.