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Surprising Science

IBM Mainframes: Still Around and Getting Better

A recently-released line of state-of-the-art mainframes proves that, all these years later, IBM is still going strong in the Internet age.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Once upon a time, not too long ago, the mainframe was considered a dying relic of a bygone age, to be replaced by the speedier — and much smaller and cuter — client/server computing paradigm. Then came the Internet and a massive increase in the amount of data being generated and processed. Now IBM, the old man of computers, has released a new line of mainframes that are “encrypted from the chip to the software,” making them an ideal choice for banks and credit card companies seeking to update their old mainframe-based structures to allow them to process large quantities of sensitive information.

What’s the Big Idea?

Actually, financial institutions have always relied on mainframes for their core systems, and a quarter of IBM’s profits comes from mainframe sales and services. Companies in countries with emerging economies, such as China, are buying more of the machines to handle the jump in online banking transactions. Contrary to past expectations, the mainframe has stayed relevant, “whereas the PC, its supposed slayer, has stayed pretty much the same and is now being pushed aside” by tablets and smartphones. If it’s not exactly a “happily ever after” ending, it’s pretty close, for IBM at least.

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