Mainframe computer

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, bulk data processing (such as the census and industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and large-scale transaction processing). A mainframe computer is larger 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 derived from the large cabinet, called a main frame,[citation needed] that houses the central processing unit and main memory of early computers.[2][full citation needed][3] Later, the term mainframe was used to distinguish high-end commercial computers from less powerful machines.[4]

  1. ^ Vance, Ashlee (July 20, 2005). "IBM Preps Big Iron Fiesta". The Register. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "mainframe, n". Oxford English Dictionary (on-line ed.).
  3. ^ Ebbers, Mike; O’Brien, Wayne; Ogden, Bill (July 2006). Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics (PDF) (1st ed.). IBM Redbooks. pp. 5–10. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  4. ^ 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.