Updated April 6, 2023
Introduction to Mainframe Computer Features
Computers with bigger CPUs like house cabinets where all the data is stored for processing and calculations are done in real-time, which is otherwise used as servers, are called Mainframe computers. It is used synonymously for the multi-handler as several tasks are carried out in a parallel fashion so that none of the tasks is stopped in between. These powerful computers require lots of space where several floors of a company or house should be allocated specifically for placing this computer. A memory of the computer and many other processors are combined in a mainframe computer where any engineering problems can be solved in few seconds.
Longer Performance: When we install and start using mainframes, these systems assure us performance for a longer duration. It’s not for months but for years. Proper maintenance and updating systems with novel software will make the computers work for a longer time. Different processors are present in the same system and while processing data, the workload is shared among all the processors. This makes the system work faster and with efficiency.
These systems have good storage capacity that makes the system process a huge amount of data as and when needed. It can store a large amount of data and process it based on customer requirements. After processing the data, the system can show accurate results without any miscalculations in the data.
The system has a centralized server that has multiple operating systems and allows managing the operations in a centralized manner. This makes the system to be efficient with higher performance and less workload to individual operating systems. Also, it has a time-sharing feature that enables multiple users to work on the same system at a time. Anyway, we cannot call Mainframes a single computer as it has multiple operating systems and different processors. Virtual machines help the system to achieve this with high compatibility and sophistication of the applications present in the system.
All the applications in mainframes are designed based on Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability, which makes the system unique from other computers. Data processing can be done easily with the help of these computers, and companies use the scalability feature in the system to operate with different storage capacities. The processing power of all these applications is maintained by the CPUs present in the system. When software updates happen in the system, workloads are shared among the processors, and hence the work is not interrupted in between. In some cases, the system cannot be made to stop the work as it will be highly costly for the entire company. The processing of the applications will not work, and if the company is a bank, national security might get affected. Mainframes play a major role in making the system to be available round the clock. These three characteristics are the main features of a mainframe, and the system works based on these features.
Mainframes themselves are costly, and if it is not possible to scale the same, companies will incur a huge loss. Scalability can be done in mainframes which helps the companies to demand mainframes more. Separate expenses are not needed for scaling the available mainframes as it is the same system with additional capacity. This helps companies to manage additional resources with the available infrastructure.
Multiple users access the same system either through the same operating system or different operating systems, which makes the data in the system vulnerable. Data is considered as a most important asset and protected with all means in the system. Here, Mainframes allow only authorized users to access data and perform analysis on the same. Others are not allowed to view the data or access it, and hence the fear of privacy is not needed in mainframes. Mainframes are protected from virus attacks, and other malware attacks as the database is designed to work with full security.
The ability of a Mainframe system to work with other systems to work with similar applications is called compatibility. There are many applications in mainframes that are designed with a high investment with which if it is not compatible with other systems, users will not be able to work with operating systems. Since mainframe systems are not changed frequently, the applications are developed long back, and these applications are refined then and there for new requirements. This makes the system to be compatible with any other operating system. Also, the systems are backward compatible so that applications can change to the older mode or to a new mode with relevant changes.
A large amount of input and output data is passed on to the system and this makes the system highly manage all the working of the systems with easiness. Mainframes do not care about the amount of data being transferred from or to the system as the work can be managed with the number of servers and centralized CPU in the system. Also, the system makes sure not to make any mistakes while transferring a huge amount of data within its database. It is called fault-tolerant computing. High-speed processors and massive storage make users work on mainframes with continuity, and hence it is important for them to have the output in an accurate manner.
Other characteristics include its ability for transactional processing where the database is updated for inventory or tickets or any type of goods. This processing helps the users to update a massive amount of data in a single database with millions of records of maybe banks or flight ticket booking or even railway reservations. Memory and storage capacity helps mainframes to beat other computers in this regard.
Mainframes are not similar to supercomputers, but they have some common characteristics, such as processing and storage. One cannot replace the other, and its working is independent with any other system. More companies use mainframes for their smooth flow of work, while research-oriented companies depend on supercomputers for their accuracy and speed of calculations.
This is a guide to Mainframe Computer Features. Here we discuss the Introduction, features in detail. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –