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.

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It’s not at all surprising that the US Secret Service use a mainframe but what is interesting is what they did with them. In a Privacy Impact Statement from 2012 the agency wrote of its mainframe apps: Enterprise Investigative System (EIS) is actually made up of six applications that manage the Service's investigative goal to protect the integrity of the nation's financial systems. "EIS tracks information related to financial/electronic crimes, forged government checks and bonds, as part of criminal investigations. EIS also contains information on background and approval status of applicants, semi-annual review of Secret Service informants, and individuals seeking access to Secret Service's protected events," according to the DHS document.

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

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