Anyone who has ever worked on a mainframe computer knows that it provides an excellent foundation for cloud delivery as part of the back-end network of cloud servers. Mainframes have the physical storage capacity that is required for cloud computing applications. They also have built in scalability and partitioning capabilities that enable multiple transaction processing and all the base characteristics, such as virtualization and the ability to host multiple tenants that clouds require. The cloud in cloud computing is a combination of hardware, networks, storage, services, and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service mainly using the Internet. While once a standalone machine today a mainframe is just another server on a network that through Linux and TCP/IP can easily access that same Internet.
Cloud computing is still evolving. There are public clouds, private clouds and clouds that are combinations of the two. Public clouds are owned by private companies that offer services to individuals and outside companies. A private cloud is operated by a company that controls all of the cloud services and resources internally. In a public cloud computing environment, system managers can instantly attach thousands of servers and then instantly detach those same servers. The server is owned by the cloud provider giving the customer a reduced control of system processing that is restricted to the content of a signed service agreement between the cloud service provider and its customer. Private clouds are owned by a company. All servers are owned by the company and the software is licensed and controlled by that company. There are also what are called hybrid clouds. These clouds are some combination of public and private clouds depending on the service needs of a company.
The key word included in the description of a public cloud and a private cloud is server. When it comes to cloud platforms many IT experts believe that the mainframe was the first cloud server because it has always been available, virtualized, scalable, secure and multi-tenant words that are often used to describe the cloud. Microsofts Bill Gates has predicted that in the future many companies will require systems that can process billion of transactions per day. Processing that many transactions, many via the Internet, will require the processing power of multiple mainframes and IT managers across the United States understand that fact. Fifty one percent of U.S. firms responding to a 2012 survey indicated that they intend to develop clouds using mainframes as an integral part of their cloud services. Which means that in todays IT world it is not cloud vs. mainframe just systems management as usual.