The Golden Years of Mainframe computers are over, there's no doubt about that. However, mainframes like IBM's mainframe are still used in companies such as banks, insurance companies, automotive companies and in public administration. It would be a misguided assumption to think that the mainframe is a dusty and bulky machine in a forgotten corner of the data center; not at all. Mainframe technology is still improved, for example, hundreds of engineers are improving the IBM Mainframe at the R&D site in Böblingen near Stuttgart/Germany. A typical programming language for mainframes is Cobol.

Medium-sized companies manage large amounts of computing power with Linux/Unix/Windows servers. Why is the mainframe still in use and not being replaced by server technology? There are several reasons for this: The mainframe is primarily designed for reliability and robustness. In terms of system stability, the mainframe is clearly superior to the servers. The mainframe from IBM has not been hacked yet. Finally, it is also true that the mainframe is part of data processing systems with terabytes of archived data; a migration of this data into server-based systems would involve considerable effort and risks. And the Mainframe has an excellent performance at batch processing jobs.

What is the difference between mainframes and supercomputers? Supercomputers are designed for high computing power, mainframes for reliability and high data throughput.


The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.