In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

IBM's iconic mainframe turns 50: In its history the IBM mainframe has been hailed and vilified. It has been born, reborn (many times) and pronounced dead. And yet the Big Iron remains a key computing resource for many large companies and will do so for many years. Here we take a look at the mainframe’s long history, from its use with the US space program to its prominence inside large business datacentres. Take a look.

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Again totally refreshing the mainframe family in 2000 IBM rolled out the eServer zSeries. IBM said it spent two years and $1 billion to develop the machines. IBM said the key to the new mainframe was its multichip module (MCM) -- the densest, most advanced semiconductor and packaging technology in the world. The 5" x 5" x 1/4" module contains 35 chips mounted on 101 layers of ceramic glass connected to 4,226 I/0 pins by 1 kilometer of wire. The main machine ran 2,500 MIPs on 16 processors and if clustered could handle up to 9 billion transactions/day (300 million transactions/day stand alone), IBM stated. In 2003 IBM introduced the z990 and called it "the world's most sophisticated server."

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In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

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