We Don’t See Mainframes as Legacy Technology

Half-century milestone for IBM mainframes, by Mark Ward at BBC News

IBM System/360 Model 65 Computer, 1965 (via Computer History Museum)


Most interesting about these quotes, is that they’re referring to mainframes right now, not 50 years ago.

“I don’t think people realise how often during the day they interact with a mainframe,” he said.

Mr Heptonstall said mainframes were behind many of the big information systems that keep the modern world humming and handled such things as airline reservations, cash machine withdrawals and credit card payments.

The machines were very good at doing small-scale transactions, such as adding or taking figures away from bank balances, over and over again, he said.

“We don’t see mainframes as legacy technology,” said Charlie Ewen, chief information officer at the Met Office, which has been using mainframes for 40 years.

IBM System/360 – 50th anniversary

IBM recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the System/360 mainframe, which was announced on April 7, 1964.

IBM press announcement text for the System/360, 1964

IBM System/360 at the Computer History Museum

The System/360, or S/360 is discussed in this IBM video, “IBM Centennial Film: They Were There.”

Also from IBM, System 360: From Computers to Computer Systems:

Most significantly, the S/360 ushered in an era of computer compatibility—for the first time, allowing machines across a product line to work with each other. In fact, it marked a turning point in the emerging field of information science and the understanding of complex systems. After the S/360, we no longer talked about automating particular tasks with “computers.” Now, we talked about managing complex processes through “computer systems.”