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Encyclopedia > Mainframe computer
A Honeywell-Bull DPS 7 mainframe, circa 1990.
A Honeywell-Bull DPS 7 mainframe, circa 1990.

Mainframes (often colloquially referred to as Big Iron) are computers used mainly by large organizations for critical applications, typically bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statistics, ERP, and financial transaction processing. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Mainframe may refer to one of the following: Mainframe computer, large data processing systems Mainframe Entertainment, a Canadian computer animation and design company. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Honeywell-Bull_DPS_7_Mainframe_BWW_March_1990. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Honeywell-Bull_DPS_7_Mainframe_BWW_March_1990. ... Big Iron is a country music ballad by Marty Robbins, originally released as an album track on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs in September 1959, then as a single in February 1960. ... This article is about the machine. ... Image:1870 census Lindauer Weber 01. ... Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs) integrate (or attempt to integrate) all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. ... In computer science, transaction processing is information processing that is divided into individual, indivisible operations, called Each transaction must succeed or fail as a complete unit; it cannot remain in an intermediate state. ...


The term probably originated from the early mainframes, as they were housed in enormous, room-sized metal boxes or frames. [1] Later the term was used to distinguish high-end commercial machines from less powerful units which were often contained in smaller packages.


Today in practice, the term usually refers to computers compatible with the IBM System/360 line, first introduced in 1965. (IBM System z9 is IBM's latest incarnation.) Otherwise, systems with similar functionality but not based on the IBM System/360 are referred to as "servers." However, "server" and "mainframe" are not synonymous (see client-server). System 360 Model 65 operators console, with register value lamps and toggle switches (middle of picture) and emergency pull switch (upper right). ... IBM System z9 Enterprise Class IBM System z9 is the newest and most powerful line of IBM mainframes. ... In information technology, a server is a computer system that provides services to other computing systems—called clients—over a network. ... Client/Server is a network application architecture which separates the client (usually the graphical user interface) from the server. ...


Some non-System/360-compatible systems derived from or compatible with older (pre-Web) server technology may also be considered mainframes. These include the Burroughs large systems, the UNIVAC 1100/2200 series systems, and the pre-System/360 IBM 700/7000 series. Most large-scale computer system architectures were firmly established in the 1960s and most large computers were based on architecture established during that era up until the advent of Web servers in the 1990s. (Interestingly, the first Web server running anywhere outside Switzerland ran on an IBM mainframe at Stanford University as early as 1990. See History of the World Wide Web for details.) The Burroughs large systems were the largest of three series of Burroughs Corporation mainframe computers. ... The UNIVAC 1100/2200 series is a series of compatible 36-bit computer systems, beginning with the UNIVAC 1107 in 1962, initially made by Sperry Rand. ... The IBM 700/7000 series was a series of incompatible large scale (mainframe) computer systems made by IBM through the 1950s and early 1960s. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... Today, the Web and the Internet allow connectivity from literally everywhere on earth—even ships at sea and in outer space. ...


There were several minicomputer operating systems and architectures that arose in the 1970s and 1980s, but minicomputers are generally not considered mainframes. (UNIX arose as a minicomputer operating system; Unix has scaled up over the years to acquire some mainframe characteristics.) Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ... Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®, sometimes also written as or ® with small caps) is a computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ...


Many defining characteristics of "mainframe" were established in the 1960s, but those characteristics continue to expand and evolve to the present day.

Contents

Description

Modern mainframe computers have abilities not so much defined by their single task computational speed (flops or clock rate) as by their redundant internal engineering and resulting high reliability and security, extensive input-output facilities, strict backward compatibility for older software, and high utilization rates to support massive throughput. These machines often run for years without interruption, with repairs and even software and hardware upgrades taking place during normal operation. For example, ENIAC remained in continuous operation from 1947 to 1955. More recently, there are several IBM mainframe installations that have delivered over a decade of continuous business service as of 2007, with upgrades not interrupting service. Mainframes are defined by high availability, one of the main reasons for their longevity, as they are used in applications where downtime would be costly or catastrophic. The term Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) is a defining characteristic of mainframe computers. For other uses, see Flop. ... The clock rate is the fundamental rate in cycles per second (measured in hertz) at which a computer performs its most basic operations such as adding two numbers or transferring a value from one processor register to another. ... In technology, especially computing (irrespective of platform), a product is said to be backward compatible (or upward compatible) when it is able to take the place of an older product, by interoperating with other products that were designed for the older product. ... ENIAC ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer,[1] was the first large-scale, electronic, digital computer capable of being reprogrammed to solve a full range of computing problems,[2] although earlier computers had been built with some of these properties. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... IBM originated, mainly computer hardware engineering term. ...


In the 1960s, most mainframes had no interactive interface. They accepted sets of punch cards, paper tape, and/or magnetic tape and operated solely in batch mode to support back office functions, such as customer billing. Teletype devices were also common, at least for system operators. By the early 1970s, many mainframes acquired interactive user interfaces and operated as timesharing computers, supporting hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously along with batch processing. Users gained access through specialized terminals or, later, from personal computers equipped with terminal emulation software. Many mainframes supported graphical terminals (and terminal emulation) by the 1980s (if not earlier). Nowadays most mainframes have partially or entirely phased out classic user terminal access in favor of Web user interfaces. The punch card (or Hollerith card) is a recording medium for holding information for use by automated data processing machines. ... Insert non-formatted text hereBatch processing is the execution of a series of programs (jobs) on a computer without human interaction, when possible. ... Office types Class A office space Back office Front office Mobile office Paperless office Serviced office Small office/home office Virtual office A back office is a part of most corporations where tasks dedicated to running the company itself take place. ... A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is a now largely obsolete electro-mechanical typewriter which can be used to communicate typed messages from point to point through a simple electrical communications channel, often just a pair of wires. ... For Timesharing in real estate, see timeshare in computer, see time-sharing This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system. ... A terminal emulator, terminal application, term, or tty for short, is a program that emulates a dumb video terminal within some other display architecture. ...


Historically mainframes acquired their name in part because of their substantial size and requirements for specialized HVAC and electrical power. Those requirements ended by the mid-1990s, with CMOS mainframe designs replacing the older bipolar technology. In fact, in a major reversal, IBM touts the mainframe's ability to reduce data center energy costs for power and cooling and reduced physical space requirements compared to server farms. HVAC may also stand for High-voltage alternating current HVAC systems use ventilation air ducts installed throughout a building that supply conditioned air to a room through rectangular or round outlet vents, called diffusers; and ducts that remove air from return-air grilles Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC... For other uses, see CMOS (disambiguation). ... A bipolar junction transistor (BJT) is a type of transistor. ... The Wikimedia server farm. ...


Characteristics of mainframes

Nearly all mainframes have the ability to run (or host) multiple operating systems and thereby operate not as a single computer but as a number of virtual machines. In this role, a single mainframe can replace dozens or even hundreds of smaller servers, reducing management and administrative costs while providing greatly improved scalability and reliability. In computer science, a virtual machine is software that creates a virtualized environment between the computer platform and its operating system, so that the end user can operate software on an abstract machine. ... In information technology, a server is an application or device that performs services for connected clients as part of a client-server architecture. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Scale (computing). ...


Mainframes can add system capacity nondisruptively and granularly. Modern mainframes, notably the IBM zSeries and System z9 servers, offer three levels of virtualization: logical partitions (LPARs, via the PR/SM facility), virtual machines (via the z/VM operating system), and through its operating systems (notably z/OS with its key-protected address spaces and sophisticated goal-oriented workload scheduling,[clarify] but also Linux and Java). This virtualization is so thorough, so well established, and so reliable that most IBM mainframe customers run no more than two machines: one in their primary data center, and one in their backup data center—fully active, partially active, or on standby—in case there is a catastrophe affecting the first building. All test, development, training, and production workload for all applications and all databases can run on a single machine, except for extremely large demands where the capacity of one machine might be limiting. Such a two mainframe installation can support continuous business service, avoiding both planned and unplanned outages. Since December, 2001, IBM designates all its mainframes with the name eServer zSeries, with the e depicted in IBMs well-known red trademarked symbol. ... IBM System z9 System z9 is the newest and most powerful line of IBM mainframes. ... In computing, virtualization is a broad term that refers to the abstraction of computer resources. ... In IBM mainframe computing, a Logical Partition, commonly called an LPAR, is a virtualized computing environment abstracted from all physical devices. ... VM is an early and influential virtual machine operating system from IBM, apparently the first true virtual machine system. ... z/OS Welcome Screen seen through a terminal emulator The title of this article begins with a capital letter due to technical limitations. ... This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. ... Java language redirects here. ... This article is about business continuity planning. ...


Mainframes are designed to handle very high volume input and output (I/O) and emphasize throughput computing. Since the mid-1960's, mainframe designs have included several subsidiary computers (called channels or peripheral processors) which manage the I/O devices, leaving the CPU free to deal only with high-speed memory. It is common in mainframe shops to deal with massive databases and files. Giga-record or tera-record files are not unusual.[citation needed] Compared to a typical PC, mainframes commonly have hundreds to thousands of times as much data storage online, and can access it much faster.[citation needed] System/360 Model 65 operators console, with register value lamps and toggle switches (middle of picture) and emergency pull switch (upper right). ... The CDC 6600 was a mainframe computer from Control Data Corporation, first manufactured in 1965. ... This article is about computing. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Mainframe return on investment (ROI), like any other computing platform, is dependent on its ability to scale, support mixed workloads, reduce labor costs, deliver uninterrupted service for critical business applications, and several other risk-adjusted cost factors. Some argue that the modern mainframe is not cost-effective. Hewlett-Packard and Dell unsurprisingly take that view at least at times, and so do a few independent analysts. Sun Microsystems used to take that view but, beginning in mid-2007, started promoting its new partnership with IBM, including probable support for the company's OpenSolaris operating system running on IBM mainframes. The general consensus (held by Gartner[citation needed] and other independent analysts) is that the modern mainframe often has unique value and superior cost-effectiveness, especially for large scale enterprise computing. In fact, Hewlett-Packard also continues to manufacture its own mainframe (arguably), the NonStop system originally created by Tandem. Logical partitioning is now found in many UNIX-based servers, and many vendors are promoting virtualization technologies, in many ways validating the mainframe's design accomplishments. In finance, the return on investment (ROI) or just return is a calculation used to determine whether a proposed investment is wise, and how well it will repay the investor. ... The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... Dell Inc. ... Sun Microsystems, Inc. ... OpenSolaris is an open source project created by Sun Microsystems to build a developer community around Solaris Operating System technology. ... Gartner, Inc. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Filiation of Unix and Unix-like systems Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX®, sometimes also written as or ® with small caps) is a computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy. ...


Mainframes also have unique execution integrity characteristics for fault tolerant computing. System z9 servers execute each instruction twice,[citation needed] compare results, and shift workloads "in flight" to functioning processors, including spares, without any impact to applications or users. This feature, also found in HP's NonStop systems, is known as lock-stepping, because both processors take their "steps" (i.e. instructions) together. Not all applications absolutely need the assured integrity that these systems provide, but many do, such as financial transaction processing. Fault-tolerance or graceful degradation is the property of a system that continues operating properly in the event of failure of some of its parts. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


Despite these differences, the IBM mainframe, in particular, is still a general purpose business computer in terms of its support for a wide variety of popular operating systems, middleware, and applications. This article is about integration software. ...


Market

As of early 2006, IBM mainframes dominate the mainframe market at well over 90% market share, however IBM is not the only vendor. Unisys manufactures ClearPath mainframes, based on earlier Sperry and Burroughs product lines. Fujitsu's Nova systems are rebranded Unisys ES7000's. Hitachi co-developed the zSeries 800 with IBM to share expenses. Hewlett-Packard sells its unique NonStop systems, which it acquired with Tandem Computers, and Groupe Bull's DPS mainframes are available in Europe. Unisys and HP increasingly rely on commodity Intel CPUs rather than custom processors in order to reduce development expenses, while IBM has its own large research and development organization to introduce new, homegrown mainframe technologies. SAS 8 on an IBM mainframe, seen here via one of its user interfaces, classic 3270 emulation. ... Market share, in strategic management and marketing, is the percentage or proportion of the total available market or market segment that is being serviced by a company. ... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS), based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States, and incorporated in Delaware[3], is a global provider of information technology services and solutions. ... Sperry Corporation was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the twentieth century. ... William Seward Burroughs (1857-1898), US inventor William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), author and grandson of William Seward Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), American author of Tarzan fame The Burroughs Corporation began in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company in St. ... For the district in Saga, Japan, see Fujitsu, Saga. ... It has been suggested that Hitachi Works be merged into this article or section. ... Since December, 2001, IBM designates all its mainframes with the name eServer zSeries, with the e depicted in IBMs well-known red trademarked symbol. ... The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Tandem Computers was an early manufacturer of fault tolerant computer systems, marketed to the growing number of transaction processing customers who used them for ATMs, banks, stock exchanges and other similar needs. ... Groupe Bull (also known as Bull Computer or, informally, as Bull) is a French computer company based in Paris. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ...


Platform Solutions Inc., which was spun off former alternative mainframe vendor Amdahl Corp. in January 1999, now markets Intel Itanium 2 processor based z/OS servers equipped with specialized just-in-time emulation firmware for S/390 compatibility purposes. PSI and IBM are engaged in a long-going series of lawsuits, where IBM claims it has the right to ban any kind of compatible mainframe emulation, while PSI alleges that IBM is actively violating DOJ-imposed anti-trust safeguards which where implemented back in the 1970's and are still effective. [1] Amdahl Corporation was founded by Dr. Gene Amdahl, a former IBM employee, in 1970, and specializes in IBM mainframe-compatible computer products. ... Itanium 2 logo The Itanium 2 is an IA-64 64-bit microprocessor developed jointly by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Intel, and introduced on July 8, 2002. ... The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is a Cabinet department in the United States government designed to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. ...


History

Several manufacturers produced mainframe computers from the late 1950s through the 1970s. The group of manufacturers was first known as "IBM and the Seven Dwarfs": IBM, Burroughs, Control Data, General Electric, Honeywell, NCR, RCA, and UNIVAC. Later, shrinking, it was referred to as IBM and the BUNCH. IBM's dominance grew out of their 700/7000 series and, later, the development of the 360 series mainframes. The latter architecture has continued to evolve into their current zSeries/z9 mainframes which, along with the then Burroughs and now Unisys MCP-based mainframes, are among the few mainframe architectures still extant that can trace their roots to this early period. That said, while they can still run 24-bit System/360 code, the 64-bit zSeries and System z9 CMOS servers have nothing physically in common with the older systems. Notable manufacturers outside the USA were Siemens and Telefunken in Germany, ICL in the United Kingdom, and Fujitsu, Hitachi, Oki, and NEC in Japan. The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries manufactured close copies of IBM mainframes during the Cold War; the Strela is an example of an independently designed Soviet computer. The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... The group of competitors (mainframe computer manufacturers) to IBM in the 1960s became known as the BUNCH: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell. ... For other uses, see IBM (disambiguation) and Big Blue. ... William Seward Burroughs (1857-1898), US inventor William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), author and grandson of William Seward Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), American author of Tarzan fame The Burroughs Corporation began in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company in St. ... Control Data Corporation (CDC), was one of the pioneering supercomputer firms. ... “GE” redirects here. ... Honeywell (NYSE: HON) is a major American multinational corporation that produces electronic control systems and automation equipment. ... NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a technology company specializing in solutions for the retail and financial industries. ... RCA, formerly an acronym for the Radio Corporation of America, is now a trademark owned by Thomson SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Thomson. ... UNIVAC serves as the catch-all name for the American manufacturers of the lines of mainframe computers by that name, which through mergers and acquisitions underwent numerous name changes. ... The group of competitors (mainframe computer manufacturers) to IBM in the 1960s became known as the BUNCH: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell. ... The IBM 700/7000 series was a series of incompatible large scale (mainframe) computer systems made by IBM through the 1950s and early 1960s. ... System/360 Model 65 operators console, with register value lamps and toggle switches (middle of picture) and emergency pull switch (upper right). ... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS), based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States, and incorporated in Delaware[3], is a global provider of information technology services and solutions. ... The Burroughs large systems were the largest of three series of Burroughs Corporation mainframe computers. ... Siemens redirects here. ... Telefunken is a German radio- and television company, founded in 1903. ... International Computers Ltd, or ICL, was a large British computer hardware company that operated from 1968 until 2002, when it was renamed Fujitsu Services Limited after its parent company, Fujitsu. ... For the district in Saga, Japan, see Fujitsu, Saga. ... It has been suggested that Hitachi Works be merged into this article or section. ... NEC Corporation (Japanese: Nippon Denki Kabushiki Gaisha; TYO: 6701 , NASDAQ: NIPNY) is a Japanese multinational IT company headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan. ... Not to be confused with the Warsaw Convention, which is an agreement about airlines financial liability and the Treaty of Warsaw (1970) between West Germany and the Peoples Republic of Poland. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Strela computer (ЭВМ Стрела) was the first mainframe computer manufactured serially in the Soviet Union. ...


Shrinking demand and tough competition caused a shakeout in the market in the early 1980s — RCA sold out to UNIVAC and GE also left; Honeywell was bought out by Bull; UNIVAC became a division of Sperry, which later merged with Burroughs to form Unisys Corporation in 1986. In 1991, AT&T briefly owned NCR. During the same period, companies found that servers based on microcomputer designs could be deployed at a fraction of the acquisition price and offer local users much greater control over their own systems given the IT policies and practices at that time. Terminals used for interacting with mainframe systems were gradually replaced by personal computers. Consequently, demand plummeted and new mainframe installations were restricted mainly to financial services and government. In the early 1990s, there was a consensus among industry analysts that the mainframe was a dying market as mainframe platforms were increasingly replaced by personal computer networks. Groupe Bull (also known as Bull Computer or simply Bull) is a French computer company based in Louveciennes, France, outside Paris. ... Sperry Corporation was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the twentieth century. ... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS), based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States, and incorporated in Delaware[3], is a global provider of information technology services and solutions. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the current AT&T. For the 1885-2005 company, see American Telephone & Telegraph. ...


That trend started to turn around in the late 1990s as corporations found new uses for their existing mainframes and as the price of data networking collapsed in most parts of the world. The growth of e-business also dramatically increased the number of back-end transactions processed by mainframe software as well as the size and throughput of databases. Another factor currently increasing mainframe use is the development of the Linux operating system, which can run on many mainframe systems, typically in virtual machines. Linux allows users to take advantage of open source software combined with mainframe hardware RAS. Rapid expansion and development in emerging markets, particularly China, is also spurring major mainframe investments to solve exceptionally difficult computing problems, e.g. providing unified, extremely high volume online transaction processing databases for 1 billion consumers across multiple industries (banking, insurance, credit reporting, government services, etc.) Electronic business is any information system or application that empowers business processes. ... Linux on zSeries (or Linux on System z9) is the preferred collective term for the Linux operating system and GNU/Linux software compiled to run on IBM mainframes, especially zSeries servers. ... Open source refers to projects that are open to the public and which draw on other projects that are freely available to the general public. ... The term emerging markets is commonly used to describe business and market activity in industrializing or emerging regions of the world. ...


Mainframes vs. supercomputers

The distinction between supercomputers and mainframes is not a hard and fast one, but supercomputers generally focus on problems which are limited by calculation speed while mainframes focus on problems which are limited by input/output and reliability ("throughput computing") and on solving multiple business problems concurrently (mixed workload). The differences and similarities include: For other uses, see Supercomputer (disambiguation). ...

  • Both types of systems offer parallel processing. Supercomputers typically expose it to the programmer in complex manners, while mainframes typically use it to run multiple tasks. One result of this difference is that adding processors to a mainframe often speeds up the entire workload transparently.
  • Supercomputers are optimized for complicated computations that take place largely in memory, while mainframes are optimized for comparatively simple computations involving huge amounts of external data. For example, weather forecasting is suited to supercomputers, and insurance business or payroll processing applications are more suited to mainframes.
  • Supercomputers are often purpose-built for one or a very few specific institutional tasks (e.g. simulation and modeling). Mainframes typically handle a wider variety of tasks (e.g. data processing, warehousing). Consequently, most supercomputers can be one-off designs, whereas mainframes typically form part of a manufacturer's standard model lineup.
  • Mainframes tend to have numerous ancillary service processors assisting their main central processors (for cryptographic support, I/O handling, monitoring, memory handling, etc.) so that the actual "processor count" is much higher than would otherwise be obvious. Supercomputer design tends not to include as many service processors since they don't appreciably add to raw number-crunching power.

There has been some blurring of the term "mainframe," with some PC and server vendors referring to their systems as "mainframes" or "mainframe-like." This is not widely accepted and the market generally recognizes that mainframes are genuinely and demonstrably different. Modern weather predictions aid in timely evacuations and potentially save lives and property damage Human beings have attempted to predict the weather since time immemorial. ...


Statistics

An IBM zSeries 800 (foreground, left) running Linux.
An IBM zSeries 800 (foreground, left) running Linux.
  • Historically 85% of all mainframe programs were written in the COBOL programming language. The remainder included a mix of PL/I (about 5%), Assembly language (about 7%), and miscellaneous other languages. eWeek estimates that millions of lines of net new COBOL code are still added each year, and there are nearly 1 million COBOL programmers worldwide, with growing numbers in emerging markets. Even so, COBOL is decreasing as a percentage of the total mainframe lines of code in production because Java, C, and C++ are all growing faster.
  • Mainframe COBOL has recently acquired numerous Web-oriented features, such as XML parsing, with PL/I following close behind in adopting modern language features.
  • As of 2004, IBM claimed over 200 new (21st century) mainframe customers — customers that had never previously owned a mainframe. Many are running Linux, some exclusively. There are new z/OS customers as well.
  • In May, 2006, IBM claimed that over 1,700 mainframe customers are running Linux. Nomura Securities of Japan spoke at LinuxWorld in 2006 and is one of the largest publicly known, with over 200 IFLs in operation that replaced rooms full of distributed servers.
  • Most mainframes run continuously at over 70% busy. A 90% figure is typical, and modern mainframes tolerate sustained periods of 100% CPU utilization, queuing work according to business priorities without disrupting ongoing execution.
  • Mainframes have a historical reputation for being "expensive," but the modern reality is much different. As of late 2006, it is possible to buy and configure a complete IBM mainframe system (with software, storage, and support), under standard commercial use terms, for about $50,000 (U.S.), equivalent to approximately 50% of the full annual cost of only one IT employee. The price of z/OS starts at about $1,500 (U.S.) per year, including 24x7 telephone and Web support.[3]

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 352 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (750 × 1278 pixel, file size: 108 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Summary: zSeries z800 Type 2066 Source: photographed by author Author: Maureder, Christian Date: 21. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 352 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (750 × 1278 pixel, file size: 108 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Summary: zSeries z800 Type 2066 Source: photographed by author Author: Maureder, Christian Date: 21. ... This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. ... COBOL (pronounced //) is a Third-generation programming language, and one of the oldest programming languages still in active use. ... PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced pee el one) is an imperative computer programming language designed for scientific, engineering, and business applications. ... See the terminology section, below, regarding inconsistent use of the terms assembly and assembler. ... Java language redirects here. ... C is a general-purpose, block structured, procedural, imperative computer programming language developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system. ... C++ (pronounced see plus plus, IPA: ) is a general-purpose programming language with high-level and low-level capabilities. ... WWWs historical logo designed by Robert Cailliau The World Wide Web (commonly shortened to the Web) is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. ... The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a general-purpose markup language. ... PL/I (Programming Language One, pronounced pee el one) is an imperative computer programming language designed for scientific, engineering, and business applications. ... CICS (Customer Information Control System) is a transaction server that runs primarily on IBM mainframe systems under z/OS or z/VSE. CICS on distributed platforms is called TXSeries and it is available on AIX, Windows, Solaris and HP-UX. CICS is also available on other operating systems, notably i5... Information Management System (IMS) is a joint hierarchical database and information management system. ... DB2 is one of IBMs lines of relational database management system (or, as IBM now calls it, data server) software products within IBMs broader Information Management Software line. ... MQSeries was the IBM Trade Mark for a proprietary message queueing middleware product. ... IBM WebSphere Application Server is built using open standards such as the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE), XML and Web Services. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. ... z/OS Welcome Screen seen through a terminal emulator The title of this article begins with a capital letter due to technical limitations. ... Nomura Securities Co. ... LinuxWorld Summit is a conference that focuses on Open Source and GNU/Linux solutions in the IT-sector. ... The Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) is an IBM mainframe processor dedicated to running the Linux operating system, with or without z/VM. IFLs are one of two types of mainframe processors expressly designed to reduce software costs. ...

Speed and performance

The CPU speed of mainframes has historically been measured in millions of instructions per second (MIPS). MIPS have been used as an easy comparative rating of the speed and capacity of mainframes. The smallest System z9 IBM mainframes today run at about 26 MIPS and the largest about 17,801 MIPS. IBM's Parallel Sysplex technology can join up to 32 of these systems, making them behave like a single, logical computing facility of as much as about 569,632 MIPS.[4] Million instructions per second (MIPS) is a measure of a computers processor speed. ... In computing, a Parallel Sysplex is a cluster of IBM mainframes acting together in a single system image, usually with z/OS. A Parallel Sysplex combines data sharing (typically using Peer to Peer Remote Copy) and parallel computing to allow a cluster of up to 32 computers to share a...


The MIPS measurement has long been known to be misleading and has often been parodied as "Meaningless Indicator of Processor Speed." The complex CPU architectures of modern mainframes have reduced the relevance of MIPS ratings to the actual number of instructions executed. Likewise, the modern "balanced performance" system designs focus both on CPU power and on I/O capacity, and virtualization capabilities make comparative measurements even more difficult. See benchmark (computing) for a brief discussion of the difficulties in benchmarking such systems. IBM has long published a set of LSPR (Large System Performance Reference) ratio tables for mainframes that take into account different types of workloads and are a more representative measurement. However, these comparisons are not available for non-IBM systems. It takes a fair amount of work (and maybe guesswork) for users to determine what type of workload they have and then apply only the LSPR values most relevant to them. In computing, a benchmark is the act of running a computer program, a set of programs, or other operations, in order to assess the relative performance of an object, normally by running a number of standard tests and trials against it. ...


To give some idea of real world experience, it is typical for a single mainframe CPU to execute the equivalent of 50, 100, or even more distributed processors' worth of business activity, depending on the workloads. Merely counting processors to compare server platforms is extremely perilous.


See also

// There are many types of computers. ...

References

  1. ^ Ebbers, Mike (2006). Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics (pdf). IBM International Technical Support Organization. Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
  2. ^ CICS-An Introduction. IBM. Retrieved on 2006-10-22.
  3. ^ My Personal Mainframe?. The Mainframe Blog. Retrieved on 2006-11-30.
  4. ^ The 569,632 MIPS figure assumes 32 maximally configured System z9 Enterprise Class (i.e. Model 754) machines with all 54 central processors on each machine allocated to a single z/OS 1.9 (or higher) LPAR. A total of 32 such LPARs results in the cited MIPS figure (32 multiplied by 17,801). This figure is current as of late September, 2007.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • IBM Mainframe portal
  • IBM eServer zSeries mainframe servers
  • Univac 9400, a mainframe from the 1960s, still in use in a German computer museum

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