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10 Mainframe Statistics That May Surprise You

Authors Photo Christopher Tozzi | November 16, 2022

Are mainframes still relevant today? You bet!  The following ten statistics paint a picture that shows mainframes are still going strong, with no signs of slowing.

1. Mainframes are used by 71% of Fortune 500 companies

More specifically, these companies use IBM Z systems. The industry has consolidated around the strongest vendor on the block, and IBM has continued to invest in its highly secure, highly scalable Z platform.  The most recent version, IBM z16, was released in April of 2022.

2. Mainframes handle 90% of all credit card transactions. 

Did you buy something with your Visa or Mastercard today? More likely than not, a mainframe made it possible. Peter Rutten, Research Director, IDC tells us why: “There is no platform that can conduct the same number of transactions per second with the high availability and security that mainframe supplies.”

3. Mainframes handle 68% of the world’s production IT workloads, yet they account for only 6 percent of IT costs.

That’s according to IBM, which obviously has a horse in the mainframe race, and it is unclear exactly how these figures were calculated. However, if you assume that these numbers are anywhere close to accurate, they are impressive, especially for what they reveal about the cost efficiency of mainframes.

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4. IBM’s z16 system can support up to 40 terabytes of memory.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 40,000 gigabytes, over 1200 times the number in today’s common high-performance laptops.

5. An IBM Z System mainframe can survive an earthquake having a magnitude of at least 8.0 on the Richter scale.

How do we know? Because someone ran a test, complete with a video to prove the results. Nothing says “high availability” like a mainframe.

Working in a server room.

6. Each IBM z16 mainframe can handle 19 billion business transactions a day.

That’s a lot of credit card payments, stock trades, and other business-critical transactions. Scalability, reliability, and security are essential for these kinds of mission-critical workloads.

7. Revenue from Z System sales spiked 77% year-over-year with the 2022 release of the newest IBM mainframe, the z16 system. 

Yes, IBM continues to make money from mainframe sales. In its Q2 2022 earnings report, IBM executives cited the latest mainframe’s capacity for large-scale AI, resilient security, and cloud-native capabilities.

8. As of 2020, 92 of the top 100 banks and all top 10 insurers worldwide use IBM mainframes.

Sure, the cloud is great and x86 servers are cheap, but when you’re a company with millions of transactions to process each day and ultra-tight security needs, nothing beats the mainframe.

9. The median mainframe programmer salary has skyrocketed to $111,116 according to ZipRecruiter.

That’s about $40,000 higher than the median salary for computer programmers in general, according to the same site.

10. Mainframe market size is estimated to be worth USD 5304.8 million in 2023 and is forecast to a readjusted size of USD 6188.1 million by 2028 with a CAGR of 2.6%.

By any objective standard, this level of growth is healthy and indicative of sustainability for the foreseeable future.

As these mainframe statistics confirm, mainframe systems are still a vital part of the business landscape. Learn how to leverage your mainframe for maximum value. Read our white paper: Getting the Most Out of Your Mainframe.