Over the last couple of decades, one organization after another has migrated away from mainframe computing. In many cases, big iron is bulky, complex, and unable to accommodate the highly agile and flexible data and business requirements that today’s organizations demand.
However, innovative advances in mainframes are prompting some companies to reconsider the way they approach computing. One of those companies is Radixx International. “The need to accommodate big data and introduce a high level of reliability is critical,” says Ron Peri, the firm’s CEO.
The company, a leading provider of airline software hosting, e-commerce and data distribution solutions, requires state-of-the-art IT systems that can drive real-time inventory management, reservations tracking and ticket sales. It must manage massive data sets that extend back a decade or longer, while also supporting up to 70 million availability requests in a single day.
In the past, Radixx required a server farm with hundreds of physical machines. “We had a combination of vendor hardware and software, including different switches, firewalls and load balancers,” Peri explains. “We also had different product lines and different generations of servers and software from the same vendor.”
The IT organization faced daunting challenges in managing the IT environment, overseeing virtualization, and juggling a regular stream of upgrades and patches—even with systems and management software in place. “We managed to build a highly reliable IT environment, but it required incredible resources,” he reports.
An Opportunity to Streamline IT
To deal with these challenges, Radixx recently migrated to the IBM z13 mainframe. “It was an opportunity to greatly simplify and streamline IT,” Peri says. “Instead of having to make sure that a wide array of components would work together seamlessly, it offered a closed system with a much higher level of security.”
The company’s mainframe has 10 cores and 10 spare cores in place, but it can support up to 100 cores within a single rack. “It is extremely scalable,” Peri points out. The mainframe can process up to 2.5 billion transactions per day, and it offers embedded analytics with real-time insights on transactions.
No less important is the fact that the system supports extraordinarily high volumes of mobile transactions across various computing and payment platforms with real-time fraud detection on 100 percent of transactions. In addition, Radixx, which uses an Oracle database running on a Linux environment, can set up virtual machines and clouds within the mainframe. “It’s essentially a data center in a box,” he says.
The company expects that the mainframe, which was deployed in February 2015, will result in 40 percent lower total cost of ownership over the next three years. It also eliminates maintenance windows and supports robust disaster recovery. More importantly, Peri says, the system introduces a dynamic IT framework that redefines the way Radixx runs its business.
“We are able to adjust resources where they are needed, and support people on iPads, PCs and Macs with a very rich front end, while achieving massive wide area bandwidth,” Peri adds. “We now have the ability to expand and grow without undergoing technology upgrades and changes. The technology positions us extremely well for the future.”