How is the demand for Mainframes today
The term mainframe has gradually moved from a physical description of IBM’s larger computers to the categorization of a style of computing. Early mainframe systems were housed in enormous, room-sized metal boxes or frames, which is probably how the term mainframe originated. The early mainframe required large amounts of electrical power and air-conditioning, and the room was filled mainly with I/O devices.
The long-term success of mainframe computers is without precedent in the information technology (IT) field. A mainframe is the central data repository, or hub, in a corporation’s data processing center, linked to users through less powerful devices such as workstations or terminals. The presence of a mainframe often implies a centralized form of computing, as opposed to a distributed form of computing.
Centralizing the data in a single mainframe repository saves customers from having to manage updates to more than one copy of their business data, which increases the likelihood that the data is current mainframe computers and the mainframe style of computing dominate the landscape of large-scale business computing.
The mainframe owes much of its popularity and longevity to its inherent reliability and stability, a result of continuous technological advances, since no other computer architecture in existence can claim as much continuous, evolutionary improvement, while maintaining compatibility with existing applications.
Mainframe systems are designed to be used by large numbers of people. Most of those who interact with mainframes are end users— people who use the applications that are hosted on the system. However, because of the large number of end users, applications running on the system, and the sophistication and complexity of the system software that supports the users and applications, a variety of roles are needed to operate and support the system.
Mainframes have shown the ability, given the proper R&D investments, to keep evolving. By supporting TCP/IP and similar standards, mainframes were able to integrate seamlessly into the Internet and WWW infrastructure that was growing like wildfire.
Virtualization was first invented in the 1960s to support time-sharing, a revolutionary innovation that allowed many users to feel that each had their own personal, interactive computer, though in reality they were all sharing the same, rather expensive machine. This sharing enabled by virtualization was responsible for the huge success of S/370 in the 1970s, having by then been extended to the sharing of transaction applications by thousands of users.
Today virtualization is one of the newest technologies in computing. While the efficiency gained from sharing expensive resources continues to be an important objective, even more important is the ability of users to share resources so they can collaborate with each other around the world, in designing cars, say, or discovering new medicines.
Thus the mainframe, due to its virtualization and sharing heritage, is emerging as a top platform for collaborative computing.
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