Mainframe Computer: Examples, Types, Uses, Features , and Functions

Hello Friends! Today, here we are going to cover about what is mainframe computer with their examples, types, and components, as well as involving its functions, working, applications, uses, features, characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and more. Now i make ensure that at the end of this post; you will definitely fully aware about Mainframe Computer without getting any issue.

What is Mainframe Computer?

Definition:  Mainframe computer likes as a big centralized machine that contains the large memory, huge storage space, multiple high grade processors, so it has ultra processing power compare to standard computer systems.

So, mainframe computer system’s importance is increasing for large scale organization, scientific research, consumer statistics, and census data. It is capable to execute multiple complex programs concurrently at the ultra speed.

Today, most eminent vendors of mainframe computers are IBM, Hitachi, Amdahl, and Unisys.

mainframe computer

UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) mainframe computers was first developed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly in USA, in 1951.

Z operating system uses 64-bit O/S especially to IBM mainframe computer, and designed by IBM organization.

Read More – What is Supercomputer and its Types

Mainframe Computer Tutorial Headlines:

In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:

  1. What is Mainframe Computer?
  2. Importance of Mainframe Computer
  3. Size of Mainframe Computers
  4. Who use Mainframe Computer
  5. Components of Mainframe Computer
  6. Functions of Mainframe Computer
  7. Examples of Mainframe Computer
  8. Mainframe Computer Uses
  9. Difference between Mainframe and Supercomputer
  10. Characteristics of Mainframe Computer
  11. Features of Mainframe Computer
  12. Advantages Mainframe Computer
  13. Disadvantages of Mainframe Computer
  14. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • What is a mainframe?
  • What are mainframes used for?
  • What are the types of mainframe computer?
  • What is the example of mainframe computers?
  • Is ATM machine an example of mainframe computer?
  • What is mainframe computer equipment and components?
  • What are six uses of mainframe computers?
  • What is the most important characteristic of mainframe?
  • What are the three main features of mainframe computers?

Let’s Start!!

Importance of Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are still important in today’s business world, especially for enlarge enterprises that require mission-critical applications. Here are some reasons why mainframe computers are important:

Reliability: Mainframes have high availability, which is one of the primary reasons for their longevity. Since they are typically using in applications where downtime would be costly or catastrophic. Their design enables with redundant internal engineering, resulting in high reliability and security.

Scalability: Mainframes can handle large amounts of data and are cloud-ready and scalable infrastructure. They can support cross-platform automation and monitoring solutions, containerized apps required in DevOps processes, and blockchain network hosting and processing needs.

Security: Mainframes can deliver 100% encryption without compromising performance. They are critical for the banking industry, and 92 out of 100 leading banks use mainframe computers for transaction speed, reliability, security, and affordability.

Longevity: Mainframe computers have an average lifetime of over ten years, and until that point, they are often problem-free. They are cheaper than other forms of computing when the organization is of a certain size.

Compatibility: Mainframes are backward compatible with business applications and can hot-swap hardware, ensuring that businesses can continue to use their existing software and hardware investments.

Size of Mainframe Computers

The size of mainframe computers has changed over time. According to, during their largest period, a typical mainframe occupied 2,000 to 10,000 square feet (600 to 3000 square meters).

The original mainframes housed in room-sized metal frames, commonly called “big iron.” However, newer mainframes are much smaller and more agile than they were decades ago.

According to, newer mainframes are the size of a large refrigerator, occupying less than 10 square feet. IBM mainframes are now about the size of a refrigerator.

Who use Mainframe Computer?

Mainframe computer is best platform to execute millions of transactions in every single second. So mainframe computers are using in the large scale organization. So, they have to need for processing the massive data at once in every second.

Some companies are adopting to mainframe computer system such as Wallmart, HSBN, Indial Railways, ICICI and HDFC banks, Tesco, Kenya Power, Vodafone, AIG, Coca Cola, RBI, DHL, FORD, NASDAQ, Nike, Tata, Travelport, UPS, USA Pstal Services, and more.

Components of Mainframe Computer

Read More – Types of Computer and Their Functions

There are some major components of mainframe computer because they play vital role to improve the entire outstanding performance of mainframe computer system.

Processing Unit

CPU has various printed circuits boards, memory modules, different processors, and interfaces for each channels. All channels works as a communication medium in between input/output terminal and memory modules. Main objective of using all those channels is to transfer data and for managing the system components.

Controller Unit

Control unit has another name ‘Bus’. Mainframe computer has several buses for different devices such as tape, disk etc.

Storage Unit

Storing unit is using to perform different tasks such as insertion data, saving, retrieving, and access data. Storing unit contains the several devices such as hard drives; tape drives, punch cards etc, and CPU control them. These devices have capacity million time faster to PC.


Mainframe computer system consist multiprocessor unit; it means that it has multiple processors for processing the massive data in small time frame with using (Error handling and interrupt handling).


Mainframe’s motherboard contains the several high speed processors, main memory (RAM), and different computer hardware parts which are able to perform their function through its bus architecture. In this motherboard, 128 bit buses concept is using.

Cluster Controller System

This is special device links channel terminal to host terminal system. Cluster controller system has two variants such as Channel-attached cluster controllers and link-attached cluster controllers.

Input/output Channels

Mainframe computer system leads to some techniques like as IOCDS, ESCON, FICON, CHIPD, and more.

ICODS – ICODS stands for I/O Control Data Set.

ESCON – ESCON stands for Enterprise Systems Connection.

FICON – FICON stands for Fiber Connector.

Functions of Mainframe Computer

Working of mainframe computer is divided into different segments, below every segments are described.

Data Warehouse System

Every computer contains the hard disk for storing the data for long life, but this mainframe computer saves the whole data within itself into application form. When all users tries to login from remotely with its connected terminals then mainframe computer allows all remote terminals for accessing their all files as well as programs.

Preserve Authentication Access Permission

Due to store all data and program files into one mainframe system, it can lead to enhance its productivity as well as efficiency. Administrators have access to insert all applications and data into mainframe system, and they can decide how many users should be access for them. So, mainframe system has great firm-wall for harmful intruder’s attacks.

Allot Processor Time Frame

Mainframe computer contains the limited number of processing time to split into all users, who allows logging in presently with system. Mainframe system decides that which types of priorities should be linking with different types of users. Administrator has power to select that how to assign processor time.

Examples of Mainframe Computer

Read More – Different Applications of Supercomputer

There are several examples of different types of mainframe computer.

Top 10 Examples of Mainframe Computer

IBM z15: The IBM z15 is a mainframe computer that announced on September 12, 2019. Its design allows to handle the most demanding workloads and applications.

So it provides a scalable, highly available platform that delivers differentiated value to enable business growth, reduce cost, and protect existing investments.

It is a member of IBM mainframe computer’s series; as well as other members are IBM z14, IBM System z13, IBM z Enterprise System, IBM System z10, and IBM System z9.

Unisys ClearPath: Unisys ClearPath is a family of mainframe computers that are designing for mission-critical applications. It has various models such as the ClearPath Dorado 4000, ClearPath Dorado 8300, and ClearPath OS 2200.

Fujitsu BS2000: Fujitsu BS2000 mainframe computers enable with high-performance computing design and large-scale data processing. So, they are using in industries such as finance, insurance, and government. It has also various models such as the SE730 and SE330.

Hitachi M: he Hitachi M series of mainframe computers included various models such as the M-860 and M Parallel Series. These mainframe computers designed for high-volume transaction processing, and were using in various industries such as finance, insurance, and healthcare

Unisys Libra: Unisys Libra is a family of mainframe computers that includes various models such as the Libra 460, Libra 750, Libra 780, and Libra 790. Unisys Libra mainframe computers use Intel Xeon processors. The Libra 460, for example, uses the E5-2653 processor, which has four cores and 2.5MB of L3 cache per chip.

Fujitsu GS21: Fujitsu GS21 is a family of mainframe computers that includes various models such as the GS21 600, GS21 400, GS21 780, GS21 3400, and GS21 3600. These mainframe system designed for high-performance computing and large-scale data processing. This mainframe Fujitsu computers are using in various industries such as finance, insurance, and government

NUDT YH Cluster: NUDT YH Cluster is a mainframe computer that  built by NUDT. It has NUDT YH Cluster has a high-speed I/O infrastructure that includes Infiniband.

NUDT YH Cluster is configurable as a one to four 19-inch frame system. A fully-loaded four-frame setup can house up to 14,336 Intel Xeon processors

Jaguar: Jaguar mainframe computer developed by Cray at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was first installed as a 25-teraFLOPS Cray XT3 in 2005 and underwent a series of upgrades to become a Cray XT5 system with a peak performance of just over 1,750 teraFLOPS (1.75 petaFLOPS). Jaguar was the fastest computer in the world from November 2009 to June 2010. It uses x86-based AMD Opteron processor cores.

Cray XT5: Cray XT5 is also a mainframe computer that launched on November 6, 2007. It is an updated version of the Cray XT4 supercomputer and includes a faster version of the XT4’s SeaStar2 network. It was using to build the Jaguar supercomputer. Cray XT5 uses x86-based AMD Opteron processor cores.

Other Types of Mainframe Computer

  • Nebulae; Dawning TC3600 Blade
  • TSUBAME 2.0; HP Cluster Platform 3000SL
  • Hopper; Cray XE6
  • System z9
  • System z10 servers
  • HP mainframe
  • IBM 370, S/390
  • Fujitsu’s ICL VME
  • Hitachi’s Z800
  • I Series System
  • AS/400 System
  •  34/36 System

Mainframe Computer Uses

Mainframe computer is used in several different areas, explain below each one.

Applications of Mainframe Computer are:

Health Care Sector

Health care organizations contain the personalized information of every patient, so they contact them for their treatment. These companies maintain all record of millions patients related to their disease, medicine, and what appointment schedule they have. So, here mainframe computer system is used for executing massive data in small duration.

Mainframe system allows privileging each single patient for accessing his individual data along with privacy.

Defense Sector

In the defense area, mainframe computer system is used to pass massive information in different areas with protect such as land, ship, planes, and home base as well.

Mainframe system helps to provide weather condition, trace accurate data to target location, and use the GPS for doing preparation to attack.

Education Sector

Education is also very big sector, such as international university where to need track lot of persons such as employees, teachers, student, and other. So mainframe helps to store and maintain all information related to their employees and students, and it allows to access information for top management.

Retail Industry

Today, retail industry is growing rapidly. Some large retail companies have massive customer base, so mainframe computer system is best option for monitoring their inventory with accurate level, and it is able to execute of massive transaction (billions) in short duration. If, any large organization gets any one miscalculation in entire entries then it can lead to big problem due to misinterpretation.

Other Applications are

  • E-Business
  • Banking Sector
  • Stock exchange
  • Research Center
  • Ticket reservation in railway and airlines
  • Credit card Verification Insurance Sector
  • Telecommunication
  • Finance Sector

Difference Between Mainframe Computer and Supercomputer


Mainframe Computer


Primary Function

Store and process large amounts of data, support multiple users

Perform complex mathematical computations


Slower compared to supercomputers

Faster, can execute billions of instructions within a second


Smaller compared to supercomputers

Largest computers in the world


Less costly compared to supercomputers

Costliest computers in the world

Operating System

Can have multiple operating systems simultaneously

Virtually all supercomputers run a form of Linux


Used in finance, banking, medical services, insurance, utility, administration, and many other private and public sectors

Used for academic or research purposes in fields like science and engineering


Designed with redundant internal engineering, resulting in high reliability and security

Optimized for complicated computation tasks that take place largely in memory


Supports many simultaneous connections

Built for one or a few specific institutional tasks

Characteristics of Mainframe Computer

Read More – Characteristics of Supercomputer 

Mainframe Computer Features:

There are some significant features of mainframe computers, like as:

  • Mainframe computer allows to process huge amount of data simultaneously without getting any malicious attacks.
  • Mainframe computers are more popular due to their long life performance, because it can run smoothly up to 50 years after its proper installation.
  • Mainframe application programs get outstanding performance due to their large scaled memory management.
  • Mainframe computer systems are capable to share their over workload on the other multiple processors and I/O terminals, and due to this process enhances its performance.
  • Mainframe systems have ability to manage different complicated operating systems such as UNIX, VMS, and other IBM O/S like as Z/OS, Z/VM.
  • Mainframe systems have less probability in getting any errors, and bugs during processing time. If any time, some errors tries to enter in the system then they are able to remove them.
  • Mainframe systems are designed to support “Tightly Coupled Clustering Technology”, due to this feature; it can manage approximate 32 systems along with single system image. If system gets fails due to any hardware component damage then running tasks could be shifted to other live system, and any data do not corrupt in this entire process.
  • Mainframe system is able to execute multiple programs concurrently.
  • In mainframe system, virtual storage system can be used.
  • It can generate I/O bandwidth in large amount.
  • It supports to Zero fault tolerant computing system.
  • It is capable to manage several users.
  • It can also support centralized computing system.

Advantages of Mainframe Computer

Ultra Computing Power

Mainframe computer is capable to process huge data and run complicated applications with ultra computing speed.


Mainframe computer can support to extra big power processors, and it can be expended with adding multiple ultra power processors, memory, and storage device when to require of processing huge data concurrently.

Virtualization System

With using its Virtualization property, Mainframe computer system can be divided into small logical segments for eliminating the memory limitation, and we can great computing performance.


Mainframe computer system is able to identify their errors and bugs, and it can self recover of them without any other embedded resources. Today, Modern mainframe computer systems are capable to run frequently for 40 to 50 years without getting any errors.


If, mainframe computer system gets errors during processing time then it is capable to fix them without degrading its performance in short duration.


Mostly, mainframe computer are used by large scale organizations because they need to secure their confidential data.  So, mainframe computer system allows to more attention on authentication protection for storing data.

Flexible Customization

Mainframe computer system’s Customization performed as per the client’s requirement.  This computer can support multiple operating systems at same time.

Mainframe computer systems are getting more popularity due to their long lasting performance (up to 40 years).

Mainframe computer system can support millions of transactions per second.

It can control the millions of users and applications concurrently.

Disadvantages of Mainframe Computer

  • Mainframe systems are very expensive, and these types of computer cannot be used in the home. Due to its more processing power, they are used by large scale companies, banks, and other government sectors.
  • In mainframe computer system, we can use the normal operating system such as Windows and Android. In mainframe system is used the custom operating system and hardware as the client need, and they are more costly.
  • Mainframe computer system requires the more space and less temperature.
  • If, any errors or bugs are occurred while performing the massive task, then need the well trained staff for eliminating the errors.
  • Difficult to read its instructions which are used on the command based interface.
  • It Consume more resources.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a mainframe?

Mainframe is ultra-performance system that containing enlarge amount of memory and higher processors that help to process trillion instructions and transactions in the real time. And you can take full information about it through this article.

What are mainframes used for?

Mainframes are used many applications like as E-Business, Banking Sector, Stock exchange, Research Center, Ticket reservation in railway and airlines, Credit card Verification Insurance Sector, Telecommunication, Finance Sector, and so on.

What are the types of mainframe computer?

There are different types of mainframe computer, some types are: IBM z15, IBM z14, IBM System z13, Hopper; Cray XE6, System z9, System z10 servers, HP mainframe, and more.

What is the example of mainframe computers?

We already have been shown 25 examples above in this post, you can read them.

Is ATM machine an example of mainframe computer?

ATM is perfect example of Mainframe system because it works mainly on mainframe computers to make interaction along with corresponding bank account.

What is mainframe computer equipment and components?

Mainframe computer has many major components, and they play important role to enhance the throughout outstanding performance of this mainframe system. Through this article, we revealed all components in detail information; you can get to know easily.

What are six uses of mainframe computers?

Mainframe computer is using in many sectors like as airline reservations system, payroll computations, large scale accounting, business transactions, information retrieval, scientific and engineering computations, etc.

What is the most important characteristic of mainframe?

Mainframe system has higher availability, so mostly it is used those areas where as downtime would be expensive. Mainframe computer’s characteristics can be defined as Reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS).

What are the three main features of mainframe computers?

Mainframe computer is designed as per the principle of Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability that lets to make system unique from other computer systems.

Final Remarks

In this post, we have been explored detail information about what is mainframe with their examples, types, components, as well as involving its functions, working, applications, uses, features, characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and more. If this article is useful for you, then please share it along with your friends, family members or relatives over social media platforms like as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, and more.

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