Mainframe vendors in Australia surged past $115 million in revenues in the six months to October last year, more than their previous yearly record, according to a report by IDC Australia.
But the success of the mainframe comeback was being threatened by a dwindling pool of skilled professionals, especially with so many younger IT graduates associating mainframes with a bygone era.
"Mainframe vendors will continue to face significant challenges, including the ongoing requirements to ensure availability of a skilled workforce,” said senior IDC analyst Trevor Clarke.
IDC noted that although server virtualisation on x86 server platforms was growing, complex instruction set computer servers were coming back from the brink.
IDC associate director Matt Oostveen said the growth was driven by organisations aggregating workloads on databases, data warehouses and web - evident in banking and finance.
And IBM‘s decision to make much cheaper Linux mainframes was resuscitating the technology's fortunes; overall costs had also fallen.
"The mainframe is at an interesting juncture and its continued success will depend on greenfield customer sites installing the technology." said Oostveen.
New customers were expected to come from the mid-market, attracted by the prospect of using the superior management and automation capabilities of the mainframe environment to run Windows and Linux.
“When we see mainframes applied to a compute solution it is typically the most important critical workloads companies hold,” Oostveen said.