Mainframe turns 60 with no plans for retirement

Mainframe turns 60 with no plans for retirement

On April 7, 1964, International Business Machines introduced a new computer dubbed the System/360 but called a “mainframe” in reference to the large cabinet that housed the circuit boards. The low-end model, the Model 30, came with 8 KB to 64 KB of memory, while higher-end models could have up to 8 MB of main memory.

From that came a technology platform that has survived six decades and numerous predictions of its demise. In 2024, as it reaches 60 years old, the mainframe is still enjoying significant use. According to IBM:

  • Mainframes are used by 71% of Fortune 500 companies.
  • Mainframes handle 90% of all credit card transactions.
  • Mainframes are used in 44 of the top 50 banks.
  • Mainframes handle 68% of the world’s production IT workloads, yet they account for only 6% of IT costs.

Forrester Research in its State Of Mainframes, Global, 2024 report said, “Contrary to the claim that mainframes are slowly disappearing, 54% of respondents whose enterprises currently use a mainframe expect to increase their mainframe use over the next two years with 27% reporting no change, while only 15% expect decreased usage.”


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