In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

IBM's iconic mainframe turns 50: In its history the IBM mainframe has been hailed and vilified. It has been born, reborn (many times) and pronounced dead. And yet the Big Iron remains a key computing resource for many large companies and will do so for many years. Here we take a look at the mainframe’s long history, from its use with the US space program to its prominence inside large business datacentres. Take a look.

In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe prev next


Again totally refreshing the mainframe family in 2000 IBM rolled out the eServer zSeries. IBM said it spent two years and $1 billion to develop the machines. IBM said the key to the new mainframe was its multichip module (MCM) -- the densest, most advanced semiconductor and packaging technology in the world. The 5" x 5" x 1/4" module contains 35 chips mounted on 101 layers of ceramic glass connected to 4,226 I/0 pins by 1 kilometer of wire. The main machine ran 2,500 MIPs on 16 processors and if clustered could handle up to 9 billion transactions/day (300 million transactions/day stand alone), IBM stated. In 2003 IBM introduced the z990 and called it "the world's most sophisticated server."

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In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

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