What is the Mainframe and how does it work? Find out now

What is the Mainframe and how does it work? Find out now

Franco Brutti

Jul 22, 2023

Jul 22, 2023

Jul 22, 2023

What is the Mainframe and how does it work? Find out now
What is the Mainframe and how does it work? Find out now
What is the Mainframe and how does it work? Find out now

Have you ever wondered how large companies and platforms manage to process so much information? Well, they do it thanks to the mainframe. 

It’s a series of high-performance computers that have the ability to work at high speed to make a huge number of transactions. 

They used to take up a lot of space and made a lot of noise, but over time this has been reduced to modern computers that fit almost anywhere. 

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What is a mainframe?

Let's define what a mainframe is. They are high-capacity computers that have large amounts of memory and can run millions of calculations in real time. 

This is important for apps that require a lot of agility, security and for transaction servers. 

As funny as it sounds, many say that mainframes are what keep the world running, because without them it would be almost impossible to access the services that are available to us today. 

In this sense, when we think of mainframes, a super computer that takes up a lot of space comes to mind, and the truth is that it is so. 

This is because it has a large amount of processing and storage that is essential to meet the needs of businesses. 

Mainframes began to emerge back in 1940 when IBM developed a similar project hand in hand with Harvard University. 

In addition, it should be noted that mainframe comes from the term, main frame, which explained the shape that computers had back then.

Mainframe features

At this point we can say that mainframes are supercomputers used by large companies to process very important data such as electoral rolls, banking information and databases in general.

These computers help engineers in everything related to the calculation of data, which would take much longer if they did it manually

However, it must be taken into account that a mainframe does not reach the processing capacity of the so-called supercomputers, so much so that the latter are used in the field of research, being very expensive for most companies. 

Therefore, mainframes are a much safer tool for companies of all types that want to optimize their day-to-day processes. 

On the other hand, a feature that we must take into account is that mainframes offer high levels of security, so it’s practically impossible for an attacker to attack these computers through a virus. 

They also offer the possibility of storing and running several operating systems to meet all user requests.

Mainframe manufacturers

There are several mainframe manufacturers in existence today. Some of them are: 

1. IBM

And we could not start in any other way than with IBM. With this company, everything related to large-capacity computers began. 

They made the first advances back in 1941, just when the demand for information began to increase due to the boom of the Second World War, where intelligence services sought to neutralize their enemies at any cost. 

2. Hitachi

In second place we have Hitachi, a company that has the characteristic that its engineers executed the ZSeries z900 equipment in alliance with IBM itself along with the unique designs called AP10000 VOS 3.

Thanks to this support, they were able to enter a market that at the time was virgin and which they now lead together with other companies such as IBM and HP. 

3. HP

We also have HP, one of the most important companies in the IT world. 

In the market they have mainframes called NonStop together with Fujitsu BS 2000 and GS21 equipment. 

This company not only sells you the equipment, but also gives you all the support you need to solve any problem that may arise.

Mainframe Operating Systems

There’s no doubt that the battle for first place in mainframes has a winner, and IBM is the founder of the concept and the one who had the main idea about how this technology can evolve. 

In this sense, like all computer equipment, it needs a program that manages all the information it’s given and must reduce the margin of error as much as possible. 

Let’s look at some of the most used operating systems today: 

1. IBM I

This is an operating system based on EBCDIC and is used in IBM Sistem Power and Pure Sistem computers. 

In short, it’s the latest version of the operating system that was previously called I5-OS and was originally called OS-400 when the concept was introduced in 1988. 

2. Linux for System

On the other hand, the Linux operating system is compiled to run on IBM mainframes, specifically on the System Z family of computers. 

In the market, you will also find it under other names, but the important thing is that you know which computers it runs on. 

3. Unix

Unix is a portable and multi-user operating system, so it offers many advantages to the companies that use it. 

It was first developed in 1969 to run on the General Electric computer. GE 645. 

4. Z-Os

In fourth place, we have the Z-Os operating system, which is responsible for running all IBM mainframes on the market at the moment. 

We are struck by the fact that it was developed in 1967 with the MVT system and continued until the MVS in 1974. 

5. Z-TPF

Meanwhile, Z-TPF is a system run by IBM for the System z9 and zSeries computers and draws attention to the fact that it is processed in real-time. 

This program was created to process high volumes of transactions and data through distributed networks in a short time, having the capacity to obtain a processing speed of up to 10,000 transactions per second. 

6. Z/VM

Z/VM is a program specialized in virtual machines also developed by IBM in the early 2000s and is based on the CP/CMS operating systems, working on the basis of the System 360-67 and currently running on the System Z family.

Differences between Supercomputers and Mainframes

When we hear the term Mainframes we imagine something related to supercomputers, those gigantic computers that process large amounts of information. 

Now, although they are similar in many aspects, the truth is that they differ in several ways that you should understand so that you know which one to use in your company. 

The mainframes are wonderful for everything related to the processing of transactions of data volumes that require entire operations without security problems as in the case of banking. 

This is because mainframes were developed to provide high levels of reliability, something that not all computer equipment can offer today. 

On the other hand, it’s true that on several occasions they are forced to access external databases, but it will always respect that the values handled are not corrupted at any time because most of the time they are indispensable for banking and commerce to continue working. 

Meanwhile, supercomputers excel in the military, scientific research and everything related to engineering. How do they do it? Through the concept of massive parallelism and by installing hundreds of processors at maximum capacity. 

However, this difference does not prevent mainframes and supercomputers from being closely related.

What is a mainframe consultant? 

Due to the boom that mainframes have had in the business world, a number of professionals have emerged to help provide all the technical services that these computers need. 

They are known as mainframe consultants and are responsible for the development, maintenance, and installation of information systems that are related to mainframes. 

Although there are computer specialists in the market, the reality is that these computers need to be maintained by people with more specific studies. 

In a few words, they are in charge of ensuring that all the systems that compose it work perfectly and anticipate any inconvenience that may arise. In addition, in case something happens, they are the first ones to call because they have the ability to respond in record time.

What exactly do they do?

A mainframe consultant outlines the needs of the client, regardless of whether it is a government entity or a private company, to create a system that fits the needs of each one. 

In this sense, to achieve this goal they take into account variables of various types such as the types of data handled by the platform, the security required and everything the institution needs to meet its objectives. 

In fact, the ideal thing is that the company hires the services of the professional before going to the market, since in this way it will be able to create a project that adjusts to what its users need.

Advantages of a mainframe

There are several advantages of installing a mainframe in your company. Some of them are: 

1. Increased processing capacity

First of all, we have to tell you that with a mainframe we greatly increase our processing capacity. It’s true that today there are personal computers that have very good performance, but when it comes to the business world, it’s very common to fall short. 

This is where the importance of mainframes comes in, since we can install these computers and the data processing will be done automatically. Oh, and forget about those big installations, because with the latest innovations we can install our servers in a small space. 

2. Security first and foremost

Secondly, we have security, and no wonder. In a world in which we are increasingly vulnerable, it’s essential to have the guarantee that nothing will happen to our database because our customers depend on it.

Well, with a mainframe you will have the certainty that everything you store on your platform will be shielded from predators that are stalking you. Forget about those moments when you were worried all the time, because now you can concentrate on what depends on you. 

3. Up to date with the competition

Last but not least, we will be up to date with the competition. 

Think about it, if other companies buy and install their own mainframe, shouldn't you? Well, the time has come to take the leap so that those companies that are in the market see that you also have the potential to achieve great things. 

We hope that with this information you have everything you need to make the leap in data processing quality. 

Advantages of a mainframe

It's time for you to take that step and accept that mainframes are a wonderful tool for your day-to-day life. Are you up for it?