Mainframes remain popular and cost-effective solutions for businesses and organisations around the world. As New York Times technology writer Steve Lohr wrote1, the mainframe is still a 'digital workhorse' for industries such as the banking and telecommunications sectors. Lohr wrote that mainframes continue to sell in emerging regions such as Asia and Africa.

There may be a few different reasons for the high demand for mainframes. While sometimes mainframes can be cheaper than commodity solutions, they are for the most part more expensive, so there are other motivating factors at play for organisations that choose mainframes.

Mainframe systems represent relatively large outlays for organisations, and businesses that buy these systems do so because of the perceived value. Mainframes deliver stack integration, reliability, and a range of other benefits.

It is likely that the aforementioned advantages of mainframes are the chief driving factors for brisk sales in emerging markets such as Asia and Africa. Additionally, the fact that mainframes deliver user-ready or ready-built solutions that do not require extensive technical expertise could be another driving factor for the volumes of sales in these markets.

The same phenomenon is often observed in the appliance market, where opting for ready-built systems is typically cheaper than having a bespoke system built. Additionally, the risk of mistakes delaying project times, having to acquire additional equipment, or negative impact on competitive advantage could make the higher premiums associated with mainframes less expensive in a contextual sense.

[1] http://blogs.gartner.com/chris-gaun/can-mainframes-be-the-least-expensive-option/