Startup Advances on Plan to Crack IBM’s Mainframe Stronghold

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LzLabs is keen to stress it is not a typical startup. It is not young, funky, and fun with a dog in the office, I’m told. Instead, the average age is about 60 – many people have been shipped out of retirement from across the globe. And with a large undisclosed sum of anonymous backer money, it is hell-bent on solving the decades old global issue of legacy mainframe migration.

Founded in 2011, yesterday Lz Labs announced Gotthard – the first product release in its “software defined mainframe” solution. At an event hosted at Microsoft’s Zurich offices, it gathered together partner representatives from Red Hat and Microsoft, Dale Vecchio from Gartner, along with potential new clients, to showcase its offering.

Mark Cresswell, CEO, believes the wider problems around mainframe use are coming to a head. The “number one issue is skills,” he says. All the baby boomers who have been operating these machines for years are about to retire and younger people simply aren’t interested. The second factor is that the waning performance and subsequently increasing price of mainframes are likely to make them far less viable over the coming years. And thirdly, “there is an existential threat from born in the web companies.”

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