Role and application of Mainframe computers

Mainframe computers, one of the efficient and secure systems available in the present market. Eventhough new technologies tried to replace the era of mainframe could not make much difference because of its robust consistent nature. This article tells the importance of Mainframe computers and its use in the real world.

Before starting the article, let me ask you one question. Anybody used mainframe computer in your life time? If the answer is 'NO' then you are wrong. Without the help of mainframe it is very difficult to manage our day to day activities. The best example is ATM, which works on mainframe computer. In other way what we can say is, mainframe is everywhere, were we have to handle large number of datas per second. That could be either IRCTC (to book railway ticket in Indianrailway), ATM or mobile technologies.

Classification of computers

We can classify computers in to different groups depends on its use. General classification are super computer, micro computer, mini computer and mainframe computer. The use of super computers is mainly in critical application such as weather prediction, nuclear simulations as well as for precision computational where accuracy has prime importance. Generally micro computers are known as PC (personal computer) where we do our office or personal work. Mainframe is still a dark area for most of the people. The simple example of Mainframe application is automated teller machine (ATM) which works mainly on mainframe computers to interact with the corresponding bank account.

Who uses mainframe?

Most of the mission-critical applications runs on Mainframe computers. For example- banking, finance, health care, insurance, utilities, telecom and many more rely on one and only Mainframe. The success story of mainframe is because of its high security, reliabilty and capacity to handle bulk number of data.

When we do shopping normally use a credit or debit card to pay bills right? but you know how exactly the system works. Here also mainframe works in the back end to support the incoming data. If we swipe a debit or credit card the information being passed to a mainframe machine via POS (point of sale-machine at merchant's end) to process further. Why only mainframe? Can't any other technology handle the same job? Mainframe is used mainly due to its capacity to handle millions of data or transactions per second. In VISA - the financial company (Hope you have noticed the logo of VISA or MASTERCARD in your credit or debit card) does 145,000 transactions per second in 200 countries around the world. The same case with IRCTC website too. In IRCTC daily 3,60,000 bookings are happening and the target is to make 7,50,000 transactions per day. All these are happenings because of the powerful nature of mainframe computers.

Records say all 25 of the world's top banks still use mainframes, while 70% global fortune 500 companies are working on mainframe. Billing, cargo traffic, car manufacturing, flight travel, payroll every where we use the power of mainframe. Now a days smart phone device with mainframe concept has come up. Recent study says emerging countries also started using mainframe for their data processing. Some of the banks which uses mainframe are First National Bank of Namibia, Korean Bank, Bank of China, Bank of Russia etc.

Why Mainframe?

Main reason of using Mainframe in banking is because of its security and reliability. Have you ever heard a mainframe machine is affected by Virus? No, Never. Lots of security features are available with mainframe computers which make difficult for the intruder to hack the system.

Some real facts about mainframe

1) Today's busiest Web sites store their production databases on a mainframe host.

2) Now people may think that search engine giant Google also works on mainframe. But the reality is google (even Facebook) uses its own server to meet the requirements. Google uses nearly one million servers for its operations.

3) IBM itself estimates that the total value of applications residing on today's IBM mainframe systems amounts to approximately $5 trillion. There are 200 to 300 billion lines of mainframe program code still in use. So if you multiply that number of lines with a development cost per line in the $20 range, you arrive at $5 trillion ($5,000,000,000,000)!

4) It has been estimated that will take at least one month of time to install or configure the mainframe machine. The interesting fact is that most of the people who works on Mainframe had not seen a mainframe machine.

Who Manufactures Mainframe

No doubt it is with IBM. 90% of the market share is with IBM. For using Mainframe you have to take the license from the manufactures which will cost nearly 1.5 crores per year. Other companies which makes mainframes are Hitachi, HP, Fujitsu etc. As we can see that the market share of those companies are around 10% only.


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