University Transitions to MFaaS Solution Achieving Cost Efficiencies and Stability

February 13, 2020

This highly acclaimed University wanted to protect and provide short-term mainframe resiliency while its re-platforming activities continued for 3-5 more years. The applications running on the mainframe continue to be critical to the University’s success in serving their students, their faculty and their administration.

“We really wanted to get off the mainframe and get the responsibility for the mainframe off our floor. Hardware needed to be replaced, our tapes were at end of life, and our disk array needed to be replaced, so it forced the issue of having to buy new versus go with a provider who would give us better capabilities and help us avoid capital expenses.”

Their decision was to make outsourcing the first step of this 3-year mainframe transition project. An RFP was issued, and a strong emphasis was placed on the depth and breadth of the support organization’s experience, the leadership team and organizational stability, references specific to supporting other educational institutions, and having an ability to execute a seamless plan for transition, migration, ongoing support, until they were ready to transition off the mainframe platform.

This University selected Blue Hill’s Mainframe-as-a-Service (MFaaS) solution, while the re-platforming activity continues.

“Blue Hill’s response to our RFP was the best because it was the closest to what we wanted. The other responses were not good fits – Blue Hill was the best fit.”

Since stabilizing costs was a key factor in their decision-making process, Blue Hill’s MFaaS solution provided the following results:

  • Reduced current operating expenses
  • Avoided future capital expenditures for new IBM mainframe hardware and its peripheral equipment
  • Provided a flexible pricing structure
  • Replaced more costly third-party support currently received from other entities

“Blue Hill has been able to save us money, and we were able to avoid the capital outlay for new equipment.”

Upgrading to newer technology was also a determining factor. The University appreciated being able to utilize a more robust Virtual Tape system, which included encryption, storage consolidation, faster data restore processes, and increased performance of both backup and recovery operations.

There was also the need to improve their Disaster Recovery capabilities. Blue Hill’s dedicated Disaster Recovery solution guarantees availability in the event of a declared event, provides unlimited test time, and has the flexibility of scheduling/rescheduling tests and associated coordination efforts.

“Our cutover was fine. All of the right IT people were involved from the beginning. It was fairly straightforward, very controlled, everything was backed up and tested according to plan. We started on time and everything was up and running by 4pm Saturday afternoon. In fact, I went out to a very pleasant dinner with my wife on Saturday night, with no interruptions.”

Outsourcing their mainframe requirements to Blue Hill Data Services enabled this University to:

  • Have a seamless transition and ongoing support while they focus on modernization efforts,
  • Receive a cost-effective solution with flexible pricing options, reducing monthly charges as utilization decreases,
  • Eliminate the Capital Expenditure of future mainframe hardware costs, and also on the associated peripheral equipment,
  • Utilize a predictable pricing model, one that is cost effective, where there is no “nickeling-and-diming”, to assure the University would stay on budget while receiving predictable support services,
  • Upgrade to newer technology to improve performance.

“Our goal was to run in a robust environment that is physically reliable, secure, and compliant to modern auditing standards for data centers… no one, including the business units, knows the difference right now of where we are running. All is running very good.”

Blue Hill provides IBM Mainframe hosting and 24/365 managed services for this University’s Information Technology Services Department including all hardware and hardware maintenance, IBM software and certain ISV/Third Party software, Technical support for IBM and ISV/Third Party Software, Service Desk with ticket integration, VPN connectivity and Network support, and dedicated Account Management. Blue Hill also provides a dedicated Disaster Recovery solution and support from our backup DR facility.