The Secret Life of Mainframes

Sixty thousand Google searches happen every second. Sounds like a lot, right? And it is -- until you compare it to the power of System z.

The mainframe processes one million customer transactions every second -- more than 16 times the number of Google searches that take place in the same fragment of time.

That gargantuan capacity is one of the reasons the mainframe is still the go-to platform -- and one of the best kept secrets -- of the banking industry, Bryan Smith wrote in a recent article for Information Week Bank Systems and Technology.

Smith outlined the different capabilities that make the mainframe uniquely positioned to serve banks, including its speed, security and availability. When people use ATMs, for example, they don't want to wait around for a sluggish response. They want their cash now -- and the mainframe makes that instant gratification possible.

Whether it's Target, Home Depot or, most recently, Sony, it seems that nearly every day we hear about a new data breach. Banks need security they can rely on no matter who the attacker may be. The mainframe, with its unparalleled reputation for security, delivers that peace of mind.

As far as availability, Smith points out, you'll never see a "'closed' sign on the ATM." Banks know they'll be able to keep their services up and running at full capacity, regardless of hardware or software outages, because of the mainframe's architecture.

The mainframe has been unfairly maligned in the past 20 years as a passé technology, but that couldn't be further for the truth. Indeed, Smith writes:

In this era, when a brand-new phone model is obsolete in six months, the impulse to dismiss or forget the tried and true is all too easy to follow. Fifty years in, mainframes are more than major parts of the IT equation. They keep the dollars moving from wallet to wallet.

As SHARE approaches its 60th anniversary, we continue to look forward to how the mainframe will power the future. SHARE's members are at the forefront of innovation, shaping the enterprise technologies at the core of the world's most sensitive and significant industries.

Join us in March to celebrate 60 years of influence at SHARE in Seattle, where experiences, people and ideas converge.

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