What is the difference between a Server and a Mainframe?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by snakeyes, Jun 26, 2002.

  1. snakeyes

    snakeyes

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    I've never really worked with a Mainframe before, only servers. Can anyone tell me what the differences are? Just a curious question. Also, I didn't know where to put this post so move it to where it should be if it is in the wrong place. TIA
     
  2. Computer Hobbyist

    Computer Hobbyist

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    The word "server" is descriptive of the computer's function. Generally, a "server" provides (serves) information to other computers on a network. A lot of different kinds of computers, including PCs, and mainframes, can be "servers."

    The word "mainframe" is descriptive of what the computer looks like. The term implies a computer's size and capacity. It is generally thought of as a big time, heavy weight computer, maintained by some IT priest or group of IT priests in white lab coats. Mainframes are expected to store and otherwise handle massive amounts of data. They are very expensive to purchase and maintain.

    Once upon a time all computers were of the mainframe class. Then came personal computers (PCs), minicomputers (sort of in betweeners) and other classes.


    CH
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2002
  3. snakeyes

    snakeyes

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    This is what I thought, I just wanted to make sure I was correct. A friend just asked me and I told them this, but wanted to make sure I wasn't giving them wrong info on the Mainframe description. Thanks again CH!
     
  4. mbossman2

    mbossman2 I am, in reality, a moose Staff Member

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    Mainframes have a couple of big time advantages over servers:

    Their systems are EXTREMELY robust. Uptimes on some mainframes are measured in years (I worked for one company where the mainframe crashed for the 1st time since it was installed almost 7 years ago).

    Additionally the architecture of mainframes allow for multiple "sessions" with multiple O/S's running simultaneously (due to the huge amount of processing power available thru these machines).

    Mainframe gurus (the acolytes who maintain these boxes) have a mantra that goes something like this:

    The box is up.
    It must always remain up.
    Bring nothing to or near MY machine that might cause it too fail.
    If it fails, my life and then yours will suck.
    I will actually have to work to bring it back up.
     
  5. Nuclear Krusader

    Nuclear Krusader Mondsreitersmann

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    I thought mainframes were no longer used.
     
  6. mbossman2

    mbossman2 I am, in reality, a moose Staff Member

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  7. Colonel Sanders

    Colonel Sanders Resident AMD enthusiast

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    I got a felling you wont find an AMD or Intel CPU in one of the big main-frames?

    Logan
     
  8. HackinCowboy

    HackinCowboy

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    And none of them are running Windows...
     
  9. mbossman2

    mbossman2 I am, in reality, a moose Staff Member

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    "I got a felling you wont find an AMD or Intel CPU in one of the big main-frames? "

    That'd be a no...I don't even begin to understand how the processing power is calculated. I do know that IBM has a technology that allows you to license processors as you need them.

    "And none of them are running Windows..."

    But IBM does offer Linux.....That ought to make the Linux crowd all aglow with excitement
     
  10. Computer Hobbyist

    Computer Hobbyist

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    "But IBM does offer Linux.....That ought to make the Linux crowd all aglow with excitement."

    Why mbossman2? It is obvious to anybody who has ever looked that Linux is flexible, scaleable, true multiuser and cheap. Why should we become excited when IBM and a lot of others simply acknowledge the obvious. :)
     
  11. mairving

    mairving

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    IBM not only offers Linux but they made over a billion dollars last year alone on Linux systems. That really makes the Linux crowd aglow with excitement.
     
  12. piasabird

    piasabird

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    I program in COBOL on an IBM Multiprise 3000 VSE/ESA IBM Mainframe. First of all a mainframe is a server. One mainframe can easily support about 250 users. The main point about mainframes is dependability and the security of your data. It is very hard to get a virus on a mainframe. I also like to build my own PC's in my spare time. I have 3 PC's networked together at home that share a printer.

    Mainframes are best for storing huge datafiles, and PC's are best for playing games and Multimedia applications. Mainframe printers can easily print a 1,000 page report in 3 or 4 copies. Try getting a laser printer to do that. They actually make giant laser printers that work with mainframes. Mainframes are everywhere you just do not know it. You can be on a webpage and actually be on a mainframe.
     
  13. Stidham

    Stidham

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    Being in Mainframe Operations for IBM for the last 16 years, I can state for a fact the mainframe is NOT dead. They are getting smaller all the time and actually some use PC to drive their microcode. (Used to IPL the machine or do configuration changes)

    A mainframe can interface with PC's, midrange computers, etc via tcpip. Also a properly configured mainframe running IMS or CICS can support literally thousands of online users.

    Mainframe performance is measured in MIPS (millions of instructions per second) many are watercooled. The processors can be partitioned off. (Each getting a certain amount of the processor and the system memory.)

    OS's are varied. I've never seen a mainframe running Linux. VSE, MVS, VM are the biggies. MVS probably being the most robust and stable of the bunch.
     

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