system z10The first System 360 mainframe was unveiled on 7th April 1964. Mainframe computers are used primarily by corporate and government organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statics, enterprise resource planning and transaction processing.

Barry Heptonstall, a spokesman for IBM says despite their age, mainframes are still in wide use. They are behind many of the big information systems that keep the modern world humming and handle such things as airline reservations, cash machine withdrawals and credit card payments.

“I don’t think people realize how often during the day they interact with a mainframe.”

Today, they are known as system z. Today’s descendants are vastly more powerful. Today’s largest mainframe can push through 52,000 business transactions per second.

In the early days of computers, the size of a mainframe made it easy to distinguish from other types of computers.

“If it was big enough to walk around, then it was a mainframe, if you could get it in your living room, it was a mini-computer, and if you could carry it, then it was a micro” – Kevin Murell, co-founder of the national museum of computing.

IBM Mainframe’s British rival, the ICL 1900, also celebrates its 50th anniversary later this year.

Source: USA Today