DCN February 2017 - Page 49

mainframes YOU’VE BEEN FRAMED Technology has come an astonishingly long way in recent years. But despite all the changes, a significant portion of the world’s data is still managed by mainframes, a technology first introduced in the 1950s. John Procter, VP sales EMEA, Rocket Software, takes a look at what mainframes do for us and why, years later, we are still so heavily reliant on them. Looking back at the last 50 years of technology is a fascinating exercise. Most technologies we use today take up a power that once needed a roomful of machines can now be found in an ordinary mobile phone that back in the day required a battery the size of a briefcase and now fits nicely such as Google Glass, and consider it perfectly normal to have a never ending supply of new Apps that support our daily living, whether that’s monitoring our exercise, The mainframe fraction of the space required by into the palm of your hand. We have making transport bookings and even has seen more innovations in the last few years than ever before. their predecessors. Processing seen the rise and fall of innovations evaluating our sleeping patterns. One piece of technology that has evolved but is still firmly with us is the mainframe. The predecessor of Image courtesy of IBM Archives these powerful computers graced us in 1952 to serve government organisations in the Cold War, and was nicknamed the Defense Calculator. Just over a decade later, in 1964, IBM unveiled the modern mainframe, the IBM System/360. Today, a significant proportion of the world’s corporate data is still managed by mainframes. Janet Sun, manager of software engineering at Rocket Software, stated at last year’s SHARE conference that, ‘96 of the world’s top 100 banks, 23 of the 25 top US retailers, and nine out of 10 of the world’s largest insurance companies run on IBM’s z Systems mainframes’. With the adoption of cloud and distributed computing and the upsurge in mobile applications, mainframes have seen more innovations in the last few years than ever before. 49