Mainframe systems have virtually disappeared in the Netherlands

An analysis by Computer Profile shows that 12.8 percent of all company branches with 50 or more employees still make use of a mainframe and/or mid-range systems.The most important names within this market are IBM, HP and Oracle. Compared to a year ago, when this percentage was still 14.4 percent, the user-group of such server systems has declined somewhat further.This emerges from more than 6,000 interviews that Computer Profile conducted with Dutch business establishments with 50 or more employees on the use of server systems.

Although the share of IBM is increasing, other vendors must give up territory or disappear completely from the map. IBM systems form around 80 percent of the high-end servers encountered, just like last year. In 2014 this was considerably lower, namely less than 70 percent. The lion’s share of the heavier systems is taken by the Power Systems of IBM, the HP Integrity/9000 systems and the SPARC systems of Oracle. Slightly more than 5 percent of the heavy server systems are mainframes. Within the mainframe systems, IBM System z is the most frequent.

Shrinking market

Some of the company offices that utilise a mainframe or mid-range system make use of these servers remotely. In many cases, the server is hosted by a sister or parent company, either at home or abroad. If one only looks at locations that make use of a mainframe or mid-range system and actually have this system located in-house, the following picture emerges.

Locally operating high-end servers are found at 6.4 percent of the locations. The declining trend is visible in all market segments. Locations from the National Enterprises segment still make most use of locally operating mainframes and mid-range systems. These are company offices of commercial organisations with 250 to 2,500 employees in the Netherlands.

Mainframes and mid-range systems per branch

Only 1.6 percent of the locations said they make use of a mainframe. Retail and wholesale trade is characterised by a limited number of locations with more than 50 employees. Within this somewhat smaller group (in absolute numbers), the percentage of mainframe use is relatively high. These are, for example, the locations of C&A, or Technische Unie. Furthermore, the mainframe use is above average among financial service providers such as banks and insurance companies. The percentage of company offices within the target group where a local mainframe is operating is less than half a percent.

The use of mid-range systems, including primarily the IBM Power Systems, the HP Integrity Systems and the Oracle SPARC systems, continues to decline. A year ago, 13 percent of the locations with 50 or more employees indicated that they make use of such systems. This has since dropped to 10.6 percent. The percentage with a locally operating system has dropped by almost 1 percentage point, from 7.2 percent in 2015 to 6.1 percent now.

For the mid-range systems, a number of bastions can be identified where use is above average. These are mainly government institutions, where 21 percent of the locations still make use of such systems and the trading segment, where around 20 percent of the locations make use of the power of mid-range systems. The complexity of migrating legacy systems within these sectors means that, for the time being, there will still be a market for suppliers of mainframes and mid-range systems. Both the trend towards consolidation and the shift of applications and computing power to the cloud will cause a further erosion in the number of locations that make use of heavier systems.