IBM just released its latest quarterly numbers, and being the largest bellwether of the information technology world, things are looking up. And a really interesting piece of the news is the fact that mainframe sales are soaring. Big Blue reports that revenues from System z mainframe server products increased 15 percent compared with the year-ago period. Total delivery of System z computing power, as measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second), increased 54 percent.

The insurance industry continues to rely heavily on mainframe computer power, and it's no secret that industry IT and vendor executives alike have been involved in years of study and debate, trying to determine when and where insurers need to jump off, into the distributed systems world.

Perhaps rumors of the mainframe's death are a bit premature.

In fact, Wall Street seems to be very happy with the resurgence of mainframe power. There even seems to even be a touch of irrational exuberance toward the big box. A report from Reuters describes how IBM has spent the past decade shifting away from hardware to software and services, but lately, it's the venerable mainframe delivering the big sales. Analysts are impressed by the response to System z, and it's ability to process vast amounts of data and financial transactions.

Part of the reason mainframes are so popular again is their ability to scale to the growing requirements of cloud computing. The mainframe is seen as key to the growing movement to cloud computing, especially “private clouds” supported within enterprises.

CA Technologies just issued the results of a survey of 300 European corporations, which finds that close to 80 percent of respondents “believe the mainframe will be an integral part of their cloud computing strategies.” Top qualities associated with mainframes include reliability (55 percent), its position as an established technology (52 percent), platform cost-effectiveness (48 percent) and IT attitudes toward change (40 percent).

This originally appeared on Insurance Networking News.