PMU – a horse-racing betting company – replaces its IBM Mainframe by a few UNIX servers. The operation can significantly reduce the costs and fund the development and gain agility for their IT. IBM sees one of its jewels disappearing. PMU is a French 10,5 billion euros company.
IBM is losing one of its flagship customers for its Mainframe activity in France. The PMU, a horse-racing betting company, undertakes the migration of its critical applications used for bets on horses to UNIX servers significantly cheaper. PMU is an acronym that means Pari Mutuel Urbain (French state-controlled betting system). The French PMU is a grouping of economic interests. It was created by the French associations, which organize horse races. The aim of such a creation was to organize horse-race betting under the form of pari-mutuel. The PMU had a turnover of 10,5 billion euros in 2012.
The cost is paramount
For leaving the mainframe, the cost argument weighs heavy. The new system could be ten times cheaper than the mainframe whose cost is estimated at approximately 10 million euros per year. So the game is well worth the effort. The project began in 2013 and should be completed by the end of 2014. It is the direction of the information systems that proposed the project in the executive committee of the PMU. The executive management of the PMU congratulates itself on first obtained results.
Concerning PMU, the challenge is major, both for the IT team and for the company. They have to migrate software that performs the bulk of revenue for years towards a new technical environment. For IBM, what happens is critical. The mainframe business is the cash cow of the manufacturer.We estimate generally IBM turnover in Mainframes between 30 and 35 billion dollars of the 105 billion annual revenues of Big Blue. The PMU has still to choose between Risc servers and x86 servers.
The cost argument is important, but it is far from being the only one. For the PMU, it is also a question of gaining in agility and scalability and in performance for its applications. The technologies used by PMU began to get old and ther limits became visible. The heart of the business information system was designed there is about fifteen years, in the late 90s to support horse-races betting in real time. This is a particular transactional support as the number of paris accelerates gradually as the race nears.
At the time, implementing such a system capable of supporting violent load increases was a technical and financial challenge. The same need is found in businesses such as trading operators, operators of credit cards, or for railway or airline reservation.
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