Mainframe computer

A single-frame IBM z15 mainframe. Larger capacity models can have up to four total frames. This model has blue accents, as compared with the LinuxONE III model with orange highlights.
A pair of IBM mainframes. On the left is the IBM z Systems z13. On the right is the IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper.
An IBM System z9 mainframe

A mainframe computer, informally called a mainframe or big iron,[1] is a computer used primarily by large organizations for critical applications like bulk data processing for tasks such as censuses, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and large-scale transaction processing. A mainframe computer is large but not as large as a supercomputer and has more processing power than some other classes of computers, such as minicomputers, servers, workstations, and personal computers. Most large-scale computer-system architectures were established in the 1960s, but they continue to evolve. Mainframe computers are often used as servers.

The term mainframe was derived from the large cabinet, called a main frame,[2] that housed the central processing unit and main memory of early computers.[3][4] Later, the term mainframe was used to distinguish high-end commercial computers from less powerful machines.[5]

  1. ^ Vance, Ashlee (July 20, 2005). "IBM Preps Big Iron Fiesta". The Register. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  2. ^ Edwin D. Reilly (2004). Concise Encyclopedia of Computer Science (illustrated ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-470-09095-4. Extract of page 482
  3. ^ "mainframe, n". Oxford English Dictionary (on-line ed.). Archived from the original on August 7, 2021.
  4. ^ Ebbers, Mike; Kettner, John; O’Brien, Wayne; Ogden, Bill (March 2011). Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics (PDF) (Third ed.). IBM. p. 11. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  5. ^ Beach, Thomas E. (August 29, 2016). "Types of Computers". Computer Concepts and Terminology. Los Alamos: University of New Mexico. Archived from the original on August 3, 2020. Retrieved October 2, 2020.

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