MainframeGreetings and happy Thanksgiving!  This month’s topic is mainframe computers.  Mainframe computers are generally known for their large size, amount of storage, processing power and high level of reliability.  They are primarily used by large organizations for applications requiring high volumes of data processing.

Mainframes computers first appeared in the early 1940’s.  The most popular vendors included IBM, Hitachi, and Amdahl.  Some have recently considered mainframes an obsolete technology with no real remaining use.  Yet today, as in every decade since their inception, mainframe computers and the mainframe style of computing dominate the large-scale business computing market.

Mainframes have incredible capacity and processing power, often being able to store and process petabytes (a petabyte is 1000 terabytes).  This makes them ideal for performing very large numbers of calculations, allowing them to process huge amounts of data simultaneously.

Some people think a mainframe computer and a supercomputer are one in the same.  How does a mainframe differ from a supercomputer?  The differences are in computing power and number of tasks.  A supercomputer tends to be more powerful than a mainframe and is generally devoted to performing a single task extremely well.  Supercomputers are primarily used for computational science, quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, oil and gas exploration, military science, and physical simulations (airplane and spacecraft aerodynamics).

Other than efficiency, one of the most impressive features of mainframes is their reliability.  Unlike a standard computer, a mainframe is highly stable and users will very rarely experience downtime.  Viruses for mainframes are completely unheard of.  It is their dependability that has led to their widespread usage in government, banks, large corporations, and other operations on a large-scale that require security and virtually unfaltering high-performance.


Main Advantages of Mainframes

 Can run multiple sessions with high reliability.

  • One central computer can replace dozens or hundreds of smaller PC’s, reducing management and administrative costs and providing much better scalability and reliability.
  • Ability to run more than one operating system at once. This allows companies to run multiple sessions with super-fast speed, high reliability, high security and powerful operating power.
  • Extremely fast in terms of handling data volumes.

Main Disadvantages

  •  Mainframes occupy a lot of space and produce a lot of heat.
  • The cost of a mainframe and its hardware is very high.


I hope that you found this information helpful.  Please feel free to forward it to others.  If you would like to learn more about this topic or would like to request a topic, please contact me. If you missed any past newsletters or would like a printed copy, please visit my website at.


Until next time…Happy Computing!!!

About Michael DeFlorio
I have worked is various positions as a system administrator, support technician, as a help desk support, and as an IT consultant in a corporate environment. I currently run a small business where I provide computer services such as hardware configuration, installation, for residential and for medium and small businesses. You can contact me by email or visit my website at


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