When someone talks about mainframe we imagine and correlates to a large and powerful machine as heard about IBM mainframes. Though most of us not seen physically how big it is and how does it looks like.

Let’s discuss what is it….

– A system which is capable of handling and processing a very huge amount of data
– A powerful computer that can support thousands of applications and input/output devices to simultaneously serve thousands of users.
– A powerful machine that can execute a small piece of tasks quickly in a large amount.

These powerful computers or mainframes are used in banking, insurance, retails and airline, etc.

Examples: Credit/Debit card transactions, Internet banking transactions, ATM withdrawals, ticket scan while you board a plane

What is the use of the mainframe today?

Today, mainframe computers play a central role in the daily operations of most of the world’s largest corporations, including many Fortune 1000 companies. In banking, finance, health care, insurance, utilities, government, and a multitude of other public and private enterprises, the mainframe computer continues to form the foundation of modern business.

Who uses mainframes and why do they do it?

I will say, everyone. If you ever used an automated teller machine (ATM) to interact with your bank account, you used a mainframe.
If you do credit/debit card transactions, internet banking transactions, you used a mainframe.

Because of these design strengths, the mainframe is often used by IT organizations to host the most important, mission-critical applications. These applications typically include customer order processing, financial transactions, production and inventory control, payroll, as well as many other types of work.

In summary, Businesses today rely on the mainframe to:

1. Perform large-scale transaction processing (thousands of transactions per second)
2. Support thousands of users and application programs concurrently accessing numerous resources
3. Manage terabytes of information in databases
4. Handle large-bandwidth communication

So who is the Maker of such device and OS?

IBM is one of the most popular vendors of mainframes and its operating systems. Even they have their own specific OS designed to handle transaction processing systems that heavily used in banking sectors. And you know how much transactions happen per second in these sectors.

Apart from IBM, few other mainframe vendors are listed below:

  • BMC
  • Rocket Software
  • ASG Software Solutions
  • MacKinney Systems

What are the mainframe operating systems?

You can not install operating systems like Windows, MAC etc on a Mainframe. They have their own kind of operating systems designed specifically for mainframes.

Moreover, Mainframes are powerful machines that doesn’t mean you can use it for video games, video editor, etc. πŸ™‚ These applications/software will not work.

Examples of mainframe operating systems are stated as follow.

IBM is one of the leading and popular vendor of mainframe, below are a few OS from IBM.

z/OS, a widely-used mainframe operating system, is designed to offer a stable, secure, and continuously available environment for applications running on the mainframe.

As a control program, z/Virtual Machine (z/VM) is a hypervisor because it runs other operating systems in the virtual machines it creates.

z/Virtual Storage Extended (z/VSE) is popular with users of smaller mainframe computers. Some of these customers eventually migrate to z/OS when they grow beyond the capabilities of z/VSE.

Linux for System z
Several (non-IBM) Linux distributions can be used on a mainframe.

The z/Transaction Processing Facility (z/TPF) operating system is a special-purpose system that is used by companies with very high transaction volume, such as credit card companies and airline reservation systems.

You can explore more on the internet related to other mainframes OS from different vendors as mentioned above.

Thank you for reading the article. Please share it further if you liked it! πŸ™‚

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