Mainframe Computers

What is Mainframe Computer

Mainframe Computer is a powerful computer having multiple user interfaces. Primarily ‘mainframe’ referred to the large cabinets which housed the Central Processing Unit and the main memory. Mainframes can run uninterrupted for tens of years. The term RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability) is a very important characteristic of mainframe computer since it used for application where the thing has to be done with zero downtime. It is used for millions of smaller and simpler calculations and transactions, unlike supercomputers.

Mainframe Computers

Function of Mainframe Computer

Mainframes usually serve the purpose of transferring the desired data in real time. That’s why multinational companies buy them in the first place. Processing is not one of its fortes. But nowadays newer generation packs bit processing capability. This enables mainframes to identify a fault during a transaction in real time. Latest technologies like the cloud computing are taking the place of mainframes but after some extent companies are being forced to buy mainframes. The reason is that mainframes specialize in high-speed data transmission. The point advanced technologies will continuously be hitting the market but the previous ones will not lose their market because of their specialty.

Features of Mainframe Computer

  • After processing massive amount of data, mainframes continue to perform the task accurately. No malicious attacks.
  • Mainframes are known for its long-term performance. Once installed and operated, they run for many years.
  • Mainframes can prevent huge loss by detecting problems in early stages.
  • Mainframes have higher capacity of processing levels to handle huge amount of data at reliable speeds.
  • These computers have high storage capacity because they process large volume of data and they have the capability of storing the data.
  • While processing data, some amount of workload is shared among different processors and input/output devices. This facilitates higher performance.
  • Mainframe system allows centralized computing of operations.
  • Mainframe systems can run multiple operating systems at a time and thus we can say it is not a single computer.
  • Mainframes gives access to multiple users and operate data simultaneously because of its time-sharing feature.
  • Input-output connectivity levels are at peak state.
  • Provides maximum band-width for input-output.
  • Handles and manages large number of users.
Mainframe Computers
advantages and disadvantages of mainframe

Advantages of Mainframe

Reliability, availability and serviceability: These computers are better in performance and are reliable. As these computers are also used for aeroplane guidance so they are 100% error free.

High-end scalability: They are scalable in the sense that more hardware i.e. processors and memory can be added if needed. In mainframe computer, more than 600 processors are directly managed by the operating system while many other processors are connected whose work is to move data within the mainframe computer.

Security: The security of these computers is very high. As these computers are used in banks so the security is very important. In banks, these computers are used for managing online transactions, processing of credit and debit cards.

Long-lasting performance: These computers have a minimum time limit of 10 years. So they can perform well for 10 years and after that period companies can upgrade the mainframe computer or replace it.

Continuing compatibility: Mainframe computers have their own operating system e.g. IBM have their own operating system that can manage these computers. These computers are highly compatible with the processors and other hardware and software.

Huge memory storage: Due to a high number of processors these computers have huge memory that can store and process large amount data at a time.

Virtualization: These systems have a logical partition which can help mainframe to overcome memory limitation.

Can run multiple OS: In mainframe computer, more than one operating system can be run at a time to boost the performance of the system.

Real-time monitoring and control: If any fault comes in the system then the administrator of the system is notified instantly. Suppose there is hardware failure then that hardware should be replaced to resume the work.

Disadvantages of Mainframe

High cost: These computers have a very high price and they cannot be used in homes. Mainframes are only used by big organization, banks, large websites and government agencies.

Hardware/software is expensive: Windows and mac are not run on mainframe computers. These computers have custom software and hardware that are expensive for the normal user.

A lot of space required: Mainframe computers need a large space and also the temperature of the place should not be hot.

High technical staff: For maintaining mainframe computer specialized staff is needed. A normal computer user cannot operate and debug the system.

Command drove interface: The terminal connected to the mainframe computer have the text and a command-based interface that is difficult to understand.

Hardware crash: If any hardware crashed then the whole system stops working.

Next, learn about Difference between super and micro computer.

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