In easiest terms, an operating system is a collection of programs that take care of a computer system’s internal operations – its memory, processors, devices, and file system. Mainframe operating systems are advanced products with significantly different attributes and objectives. A mainframe computer is a large computer efficient in taking care of and processing very large volumes of data rapidly. They are used by large institutions, such as government firms and large corporations. Nearly all mainframes have the ability to run (or host) multiple operating systems. Mainframes can add or hot swap system capacity without disruption.
Mainframe computers were developed in the 1950s, have actually continued to advance and are still being used today. Mainframe computers are created to deal with extremely high volumes of input and output and are optimized for computational speed. The speed of mainframes is expressed in million instructions per second (or MIPS).
Many mainframe computers are marketed by IBM, and the operating systems are likewise supplied by IBM.
The major contrast between mainframes and supercomputers is their standard application domain – mainframes excel in dependable volume computing in domains needing integer operations (e.g, financial, indexing, comparisons, etc). Supercomputers are design to master their capability to carry out floating point operations – addition, reduction, and multiplication with sufficient figures of accuracy to model continuous phenomena such as climate.
Mainframe OS applications:
- A number of today’s busiest Web sites save their production databases on a mainframe host
- The mainframe inhabits a coveted place in today’s e-business environment.
- In banking, financing, healthcare, insurance, utilities, government, and a wide range of various other public and private enterprises.
- CICS (Customer Information Control System) used in bank-teller applications, ATM systems, 90 percent of Fortune 500, companies, there is a transaction web server that runs mainly on mainframe systems.
Background of Mainframe OS:
- Mainframes first came out in the early 1940s. The most popular sellers included IBM, Hitachi and Amdahl.
- In 1950s, mainframe computers were literally the largest computers; couple of companies could afford them.
- In the 1960s, with standard mainframe customers can create business applications that really did not require specialized hardware or software.
- In 1964, the introduction of the IBM System/360 (or S/360) signified the begin of the 3G: first general purpose computers.