August 3, 2021

What is Mainframes and its Uses

What is Mainframes and its Uses


Mainframes are powerful computers used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and financial transaction processing.

The term originally referred to the large cabinets that housed the central processing unit and main memory of early computers. Later the term was used to distinguish high-end commercial machines from less powerful units.

Just about everyone has used a mainframe computer at one point or another. If you ever used an automated teller machine (ATM) to interact with your bank account, you used a mainframe.

Today, mainframe computers play a central role in the daily operations of most of the world’s largest corporations. While other forms of computing are used extensively in business in various capacities, the mainframe occupies a coveted place in today’s e-business environment. In banking, finance, health care, insurance, utilities, government, and a multitude of other public and private enterprises, the mainframe computer continues to be the foundation of modern business.

One of a firm’s most valuable resources is its data: Customer lists, accounting data, employee information, and so on. This critical data needs to be securely managed and controlled, and, simultaneously, made available to those users authorized to see it. The mainframe computer has extensive capabilities to simultaneously share, but still protect, the firm’s data among multiple users.

Many of today’s busiest Web sites store their production databases on a mainframe host. New mainframe hardware and software products are ideal for Web transactions because they are designed to allow huge numbers of users and applications to rapidly and simultaneously access the same data without interfering with each other. This security, scalability, and reliability is critical to the efficient and secure operation of contemporary information processing.

Corporations use mainframes for applications that depend on scalability and reliability. For example, a banking institution could use a mainframe to host the database of its customer accounts, for which transactions can be submitted from any of thousands of ATM locations worldwide.

Businesses today rely on the mainframe to:

  • Perform large-scale transaction processing (thousands of transactions per second).
  • Support thousands of users and application programs concurrently accessing numerous resources.
  • Manage terabytes of information in databases.
  • Handle large-bandwidth communication.
  • Reliable single-thread performance, which is essential for reasonable operations against a database.
  • Maximum I/O connectivity, which means mainframes excel at providing for huge disk farms.
  • Maximum I/O bandwidth, so connections between drives and processors have few choke-points.
  • Reliability–mainframes often allow for “graceful degradation” and service while the system is running.

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