Mainframe Servers

The mainframe is not dead yet

One of the oldest living ecosystems in the world is under threat, and each day a space the size of an Amazon datacentre eats into its share of the world footprint. It would be a crying shame to lose it because it is thought to pre-date the dinosaurs. It has seen off meteor storms, client server and even the millennium bug. But we may lose this magnificent big iron beast.

I’m talking about the mainframe of course. The Cloud hangs over it, like a sword of Damocles, threatening to deprive it. How long can this legacy hold on for?

Facebook, Amazon and all your other favourite cloud brands haven’t suffocated it yet, apparently. There’s still a pulse in the beast. In fact, last time someone measured its vital signs, the mainframe CICS was running 1.1m transactions per second (10bn a day). It was even showing the cloud kids a few moves, handling 6,900 tweets, 30,000 Facebook likes and 60,000 Google searches per second, according to IBM Hursley Labs.

The mainframe has ‘legs’ and it has kept up with the web and mobile technology.

“When you refresh your mobile to check your bank balance that information is being handled on a mainframe,” says Chris O’Malley, the CEO of mainframe software giant Compuware and author of Mainstreaming The Mainframe.

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Nick Booth

Nick Booth worked in IT in the UK’s National Health Service, financial services and The Met Police, witnessing at first hand the disruptive effects of new technology. As a journalist and analyst, his mission is to stop history repeating itself.

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