Integrators Set to Dismantle Mainframes

Two channel players are hoping to change the foundations of IT by eradicating the mainframe and pushing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging for more updated systems. System integrator SeeBeyond, which specialises in software that integrates mainframes with new generations of server platforms, has launched what it has claimed is the first RFID composite application. A composite breaks an application down into its constituent parts, in order to allow units of data and business logic to be re-employed.

"The composite should help retailers re-use the masses of information that RFID will generate," said Chris England, director at SeeBeyond. While firms are re-purposing RFID data they have the perfect opportunity to tackle a job that many have put off for too long: replacing mainframes and porting the software and data onto a more efficient modern platform, he argued.

John Billman, managing director of Micro Focus, a rival integrator, agreed. "There are massive savings to be made moving software and data off mainframes. Everyone's put it off because it's such a massive, complicated job with these old systems."

The rise of RFID, which will become compulsory in the retail industry, "could catalyse a mass meltdown of big iron (a term for mainframes)", he claimed.

But one veteran of RFID integration projects warned against underestimating the task. "We went through a lot of the pain in the US, and there's always unseen complications," said Anne Sharp, European marketing director at the UK office of Printronix. "All kinds of things can affect collection of RFID data. Let's get the basics right before we think about dismantling mainframes."

Separately, IBM has claimed it has "significantly" enhanced support and services for ISVs, meaning more firms can qualify to receive access to IBM's worldwide sales network and gain financial support for co-marketing campaigns.