Mainframe computer | Uses, Features of Mainframe Computer

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Do you know the importance of mainframe computer? What are the uses, functions and important features of mainframe computer? If you don’t know about these things then in this article we have talked about it in detail. Without delay let’s get started.

Importance of Mainframe Computer

A mainframe computer is like a big machine. In which a lot of memory, huge storage space, and many high-end processors are installed. It has ultra-processing power as compared to an ordinary computer system. Therefore, it is extensively used for computing organizations, scientific research, consumer statistics, and census data. Because of this, the importance of mainframe computer systems is increasing.

In addition, it is capable of executing many complex programs simultaneously. Today, the most well-known vendors of mainframe computers are IBM, Hitachi, HP, Fujitsu, and Unisys.

Importance of mainframe computer is more powerful than a mini-computer and microcomputer but it is less powerful than a supercomputer. More than thousands of people can access this computer simultaneously and can process their data. These computers have the ability to process large amounts of data rapidly.

Usually, the mainframe computer is kept as a server in networking. Which users can access the data through the Internet. Nowadays, many users do online transactions like phone pay, google pay, internet banking, and online shopping. As soon as the user does some transaction from it, it gives the output to the user in a few seconds. For this, it is necessary to have a server with fast processing and good security. In which mainframe computer is used. This mainframe computer is used in big companies.

Use of Mainframe computer

Mainframe computers were first made by IBM. It looked bigger because it used multiple devices. It was designed in such a way that it can be used in big businesses and organizations. Nowadays, you must have seen on the internet that more than half of business transactions are done through e-commerce sites. Everyone likes to buy goods online. All this is possible with the help of a mainframe computer.

It is mainly used in the banking sector, insurance sector, stock exchange, and e-commerce business sector. Due to the use of the mainframe computers at this place, users are able to do their transactions or exchange data without any hassle.

mainframe computer

Mainframe computers are used in many other large organizations such as NASA and Walmart. This mainframe computer used in this company processes the data rapidly, works to store a lot of data securely, and provides security to the entire data.

It is impossible to do all these tasks on an ordinary computer. Therefore it is mandatory to use of mainframe computer for this purpose.

Features of mainframe computer

  • The biggest mainframe computer features is that it executes the input process very quickly and gives the result. This is basically possible, due to the several processors and IO devices installed in it.
  • A huge amount of data can be processed on this computer without any error.
  • Due to large-scale memory management, the application of the mainframe computers performs well.
  • After proper installation of a mainframe computer, it can run for many years without any problem.
  • There is less chance of any errors and bugs in the mainframe system during the processing time. If an error is encountered through this processing, the mainframe computer has the ability to resolve it.
  • This computer is capable of supporting many operating systems, such as Unix, VMS, and IBM operating systems.
  • When the workload on the mainframe computer increases, only then it share all that work between other processors and input-output devices. Which increases the performance of this computer.
  • Due to the time-sharing capability in the mainframe computer, thousands of users can easily access their data in an efficient manner.
  • The mainframe computer is designed in such a way that it supports Tightly Coupled Clustering Technology. The advantage of this technology is that It can manage around 32 systems with a single system image. If one system fails during the processing time, it automatically starts the same work in the other running system with no loss of work, and hence its performance increases. This one is the most important features of mainframe computer.
  • Mainframe computers support multiple input-output connectivities.  It has so much capacity that it can manage many users.

Difference between mainframe computer and supercomputer

  • Supercomputers are known for their processing capacity. It is used for medical research and some top-notch calculations like weather forecasting. They are used in data crunching and number crunching and thus have the potential to solve various scientific and engineering problems.
  • Mainframe computers are used to successfully execute business transactions or online transactions. It acts as a server. It helps in updating the database of banking work and different online e-commerce sites.
  • Supercomputers execute billions of floating-point instructions within a second. but the mainframe computer simultaneously executes the transaction instruction at the same time.
  • Supercomputers are considered to be the most expensive computers in the world. Mainframe computers are cheaper than supercomputers.
  • The supercomputer uses the Linux operating system. But a mainframe computer can handle multiple operating systems simultaneously.
  • Supercomputers are capable of processing a task as quickly as possible and giving better performance. On the other hand, a mainframe computer gives a little bit of low performance as compared to a supercomputer.

Size of Mainframe Computers

Earlier mainframe computers were very large, housed in a metal box or room-sized frame. These mainframe computers required a large amount of electricity and air conditioning, with the room being surrounded by many I/O devices connected to the mainframe computer. During that period mainframe computers occupied 2000 to 10000 square feet.

After the 1990s, all the I/O devices used in mainframe computers became physically smaller in size. Which gradually increased its functionality and capacity.

Today’s mainframe computers are much smaller than the mainframe computers of earlier times. Its size is similar to a large refrigerator.

Components of Mainframe Computer

There are some major components of mainframe computer which help in increasing the performance of the mainframe computer. Below are the details about all the components.

Processing unit

In the processing unit, various parts are used like motherboard, memory, input/output devices, etc. All the communication in the computer is done between the input-output devices and the memory unit. The main purpose of using all these terminals is to transfer data and control all the components of the system.

Control Unit

The main purpose of the control unit is to control all the devices installed in the computer. This unit is also called bus controller. This mainframe computer has different control units for different devices. The control unit is further connected with the storage unit.

Storage Unit

Storage units are used to perform different types of tasks such as insertion, saving, retrieving, and accessing data from the storage unit. Different devices are used in the storage unit, which are hard drives, tapes, punch cards, etc. The mainframe computer’s storage unit is much faster than a normal PC.


Many processors are used in mainframe computers. So that it can execute a lot of processing data in less time. Multiprocessor also has technology for error handling and interrupt handling.


The motherboard is also called a printed circuit board. There are hidden wires somewhere in it. The motherboard has many high-speed processors, RAM, and various hardware devices connected to it. Through the motherboard, the processor processes, and controls all the hardware devices connected to the motherboard.

Cluster control system

This is a special device designed to connect the host terminal system to channel terminals. There are two types of cluster controller systems such as channel-attached cluster controller and link-attached cluster controller.

I/O Channels

Some new technology is used in the input-output channel. Which are IOCDS, ESCON, FICON, CHIPD, and more.

IOCDS- full from is I/O Controller Data Set.

ESCON- full form is Enterprise Systems Connection.

FICON- full from is Fiber Connector.

Functions of Mainframe computer

Mainframe computers have a variety of functions. The function of the mainframe computer is explained in detail in the below section.

Typically, mainframe computer functions are to rapidly process instructions and reach that instruction to the user in real time. Because of this, big multinational companies buy it.

Nowadays the mainframe computer is being upgraded keeping in mind the change in technology. This enables the mainframe to identify the fault during the transaction in real time.

A hard drive is used for storage in a simple computer. But data warehousing is used to store data in mainframe computers. It saves the data in the application form. As soon as the user accesses his saved data from a terminal, the mainframe computer verifies the user and gives him access to the data.

7 Examples of Mainframe computer

  • IBM Z series
  • IBM 370
  • HP
  • CDC

Advantages of mainframe computers

  • A mainframe computer is capable of handling a lot of data at once due to its fast processing.
  • A large amount of storage space is available in a mainframe computer.
  • Due to the presence of error handling and interrupt handling techniques, no errors are found in the data. By installing it properly, it runs for 50 to 60 years without any problem.

Disadvantages of mainframe computer

  • A mainframe computer is very expensive rather than a normal computer. The parts involved in this are also very expensive. Ordinary people will not be able to afford it.
  • We cannot use it at home. It is simply used in large organizations like the bank sector, multinational companies, and government organizations.
  • A large space and air conditioning room is required to keep the mainframe computer.
  • If there is any hardware fault, the whole system goes down.


Today’s article is all about mainframe computers and their uses, examples, functions & features. How did you feel after reading this article, definitely tell in the comment box. If there is any doubt in your mind then tell us, and we will try our best to solve your problem.

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