Evangelizing Mainframe
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4 Transformational Ideas from the Past

IBM is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year. It’s a history marked by significant innovation and change. I wanted to pause for a moment to revisit the past and think of few mainframe-related areas that have had a huge impact on business computing. Below are four technologies which I think hit the mark.

1. The mainframe
The invention of mainframe itself, specifically IBM 1401 Data Processing System, marked a new generation of computing architecture. It was one of the first computers to run completely on transistors rather than vacuum tubes. This made it smaller and more durable. It was also known as the first affordable general-purpose computer. In addition, the mainframe was the easiest machine to program at that time. Although it was not great in power or speed, it was a utilitarian device that extended computing to a new level of organizations and users.

2. Information Management System (IMS)
Originally called as Information Control System and Data Language/Interface (ICS/DL/I) and later named as IMS, this was the world’s first commercial database-management system. More than 40 years later, the old IMS slogan “The world depends on it” still holds true. Many of the largest corporations in the world rely on the IMS system to run their everyday business. Indeed, more than 95 percent of the top Fortune 1000 companies use IMS to process more than 50 billion transactions per day and manage 15 million GB of critical business data. (Source: IBM Information Center.) And new features continue to be added to IMS to adjust to the changing IT world!

3. Customer Control Information System (CICS)
This was a revolutionary product which brought in real-time processing. CICS provided the capability to process transactions instantaneously--reliably and securely, day in and day out. Today, CICS is the backbone of many of the world’s largest companies, continually evolving to enable these companies to grow to their full potential.

4. Relational database
This was a solution that showed how information stored in large databases could be accessed without knowing how the information was structured or where it resided in the database. Until then, retrieving information required relatively sophisticated computer knowledge, or the services of specialists who knew how to write programs to fetch specific information, which was a time-consuming and expensive task. This idea later grew into a product known as Database 2 or DB2 as well as the now industry standard computer language for working with relational databases called as Structured Query Language (SQL).

It is very clear that the mainframe and mainframe-related solutions has come a long way since its inception. I’m sure others have opinions on technologies that changed the computing landscape. I look forward to seeing your thoughts in the Comments section.

Raghavendra Kulkarni is a mainframe technical specialist at the India-based IT-services company MindTree. He has more than nine years of experience in mainframe-related technologies and products. Currently engaged as a mainframe consultant, he is also a project manager and a pre-sales consultant. He can be reached at Raghavendra_Kulkarni2@mindtree.com.

Posted: 9/6/2011 7:20:03 AM by Ragavendra Kulkarni | with 0 comments

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