What are Mainframes?

Mainframe computers, also known as “big iron,” power things from credit card processing to airline ticketing. How do they work, and what makes them different from other large-scale devices like supercomputers?

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Thanks to Connor Krukosky for his assistance with this episode.

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50 Comments

  1. Dávid Hlavati on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    I would play super mario on it

  2. bambino on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    This guy has the such a cartoonish voice, he should do voice acting

  3. MAZAqur on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    "Play overwatch" *shows tf2* lmao

  4. Percy Lipinski on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Please don’t let this goof do any more youtube videos. Easily one of the most annoying people EVER!

  5. shivam sharma on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    What type of main frame would Google have to use for stadia

  6. Brecht on April 13, 2020 at 11:49 am

    lol

  7. NullPoEx on April 13, 2020 at 11:50 am

    I connect to a mainframe daily at my work, mostly in an end-user capacity, but I am very familiar with RUMBA.

  8. Charles C on April 13, 2020 at 11:51 am

    For the IBM Mainframe affectionados out there. IBM announced the Z15 system, some specs are: up to 40 terabytes (TB) of RAM, up to 1536 I/O channels with over 600 FiConn channels (optical), up to 190 user processors (UP) each with 12 cores at 5.8 GHz, and a slew of specialty processors. The level of complexity can only be described as mind boggling.

  9. Roberto Lucena on April 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Yes good vídeo about the mainframe, I started in 1977, in a Road Construction Engineering Company, by side of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, BR, with IBM /370, only punch cards and papers, with Fortran and Cobo. With 64 years I just move to the US, willing to work here, hey guys I’m available to work with Assembler, Cobol, CICS, DB2, Rexx, look for my Linkedin profile: @t.

  10. Steve Jones on April 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Increasingly systems new systems architectures are not built around mainframes. There are a whole series of other architectural solutions to sav

    The reason a lot of IBM mainframes are still in use is because of legacy application software, and that’s certainly the case with banks. I used to work in telecommunications, and early on, it was dominated by mainframe technology. However, as more products came out with the advent of broadband services, mobile services, streaming services and much else came along, then new systems were created which did not use mainframes.

    Today the company I used to work for still has a couple of mainframes, but they are only used to maintain a few, legacy applications that are simply not worth re-writing. They must be approaching 40 years old by now, and the end is now in sight.

    What replaced them? Mostly it was originally Unix "hot boxes", which would typically comprise databases, later clustered and remotely mirrored for resilience. Applications would be layered on top. As time progressed, this migrated onto Linux and on Intel architecture systems replacing those, now very expensive, UNIX hot-boxes. What wasn’t Linux would have been Windows, but mostly because of the applications that ran on them.

    What also revolutionised these systems was the way they were all tied together with synchronous and asynchronous messaging systems, complex workflow control systems and much else.

    You can pretty well guarantee that the monsters of modern large-scale computing, like Facebook, Amazon, eBay and the like do not scale their applications or achieve resilience using mainframes.

  11. Adrian Mallett on April 13, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Also, about the costs… Mainframe sellers are frequently CHARGING PER INSTRUCTION/MIPs.

  12. EXcentriX on April 13, 2020 at 11:55 am

    So, if I understand that correctly:
    Mainframes = Internet Backbones, Webservers, Databases
    Supercomputer = "What’s the X^YYYYth iteration of Pi and check if it’s a prime number and then try to divide it by it’s inversion – else: next Y+1"

  13. DaRyteJuan on April 13, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Linus, you forgot to mention how all the programmers on mainframes adopt different standards (or no standards at all). In one application, *[F1]* might mean PAGE DOWN and the MOVE CURSOR to the FIFTH FIELD on the screen whereas *[F1]* in another application takes you to a HELP screen WHERE if you press *[F1]* a second time, it’ll DISCARD what you were working on and REBOOT the system.

  14. Garfield-Addict-FOREVER!!! on April 13, 2020 at 11:58 am

    can you use mainframes for hacking

  15. Amr Alqurashi on April 13, 2020 at 11:59 am

    6 year olds be like: aghahaggag Mainframe is also a rocket league black market decal lol xd rofl lmao

  16. johnlochness on April 13, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Cool video. I started as a Cobol programmer on IBM Mainframes in 1979 and worked my way up to Technical Specialist at IBM. Cobol, CICS, DB2, IMS. Left the business in 2004 to do something completely different after working for a major UK retailers on a system that ran over several mainframes and spent all day working out what people will buy in the next 21 days.

  17. Kenny Morgan on April 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Does it mine bitcoin

  18. Matias Barrios on April 13, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    3:38
    Youtube audience: *watches the video*
    Linus:*puts his hand on his crotch* "If you want to see it in action…"

  19. J Williams on April 13, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    This guy is super cringy

  20. Brendan Metcalfe on April 13, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Nice video thanks!

  21. Anna Q Addams on April 13, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Round tapes? Seriously?

  22. day tripper on April 13, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    My thought on VPN is that if your address looks like a different country than the NSA, etc can monitor your web activity. Yes or no?

  23. Rishi Gupta on April 13, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    How is a mainframe different from a server?

  24. Mojo j on April 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    It reminds me of the Arizona ranger with a big iron on his hip

  25. Michael Andrei Escobedo on April 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Can it run Minecraft extreme shaders and a butt ton of mods?

  26. Kernelpickle on April 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    The mainframes I’ve supported have been in heavy use in the medical field (for billing) and manufacturing environments.

    They all ran with ancient text based interfaces that would make any DOS or Linux shell seem easy and intuitive to anyone that’s never even used a computer before.

  27. Thomas Chrombly on April 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Mainframes? What a cluster…

  28. Tazarul Fox on April 13, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Big iron is the name of a song

  29. Gilad Baruchian on April 13, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    so how gaming on the cloud is gonna work?

  30. Tuhin Bagh on April 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    RIP Tunnelbear :/

  31. Andrii Vlasov on April 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    wow

  32. Adrian Mallett on April 13, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    I reckon ALL banks have a mainframe. You can’t do real time processing required for banking with general purpose hardware.

    We’ve got _several_ where I work.

  33. jibnath gautamhy on April 13, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    8000

  34. Sylvester Puddy-Tat on April 13, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I thought Walmart ran on IBM Midrange Systems like Power i?

  35. Alabama Mothman on April 13, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    It means you dont have to tolerate the unix/linux operating system or OOP or Object Oriented Problems. It means you have " burned in the wood" operating systems that dont mysteriously change settings that cause days of downtime. And OOP systems that are professed as "advanced" but cant handle number conversions automatically and cant get new threads to EVER work properly. Java and OOPs are step backwards. And unix is shit.

  36. Thanos on April 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    It’s the main doorframe, duh

  37. musikSkool on April 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    But instead of a "game" you could just store a very large three dimensional "image" and create a viewport that simply translates pixels from a very specific location in that "image". The math would be quite simple, but generating the large "image" might take some time. And populating it with entities can be done the same way google uses one image and just picks a small area inside that image for each icon. Each entity is just an "animated three dimensional image" and all you need to do is pick what angle the "image" is viewed from, and which "animation" is being displayed just changes what 3d video is being played. Anyway, a mainframe would easily be able to transfer enough data for a 1 to 1 pixel 4k screen. Writing the software would be the only hurdle. I personally want a minecraft that uses centimeter sized blocks instead of meter sized blocks. 1,000,000 times the data if you are wondering.

  38. Mike Turk on April 13, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Most certainly some hardened gamer would want *to play Crisis* :))

  39. Dominique Stalder on April 13, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    2 corrections…
    a) Mainframes cost a bunch of money, BUT if you want something similar based on "normal" architecture, you have to pay much more
    b) there was a project "Gameframe", which was a z10 connected to a blade center, for the floating point calcs – the game Taikodom by Hoplon used this and therefor there were no limits for player on one server

  40. Everett Claunch on April 13, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Your first question made me think of Marty Robbins.

  41. Fred Nordhorn on April 13, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Use to work on DEC PDP-10 they used DEC PDP-11’s to connect to the outside world. in the 80’s after Palmer took over he starting selling the corp off to others. At one time they where #2 with IBM being #1

  42. JumpinThru Hurdles 6145 on April 13, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    I love mainframes!

  43. Roberto Lucena on April 13, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Yes good vídeo about the mainframe, I started in 1977, in a Road Construction Engineering Company, by side of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, BR, with IBM /370, only punch cards and papers, with Fortran and Cobo. With 64 years I just move to the US, willing to work here, hey guys I’m available to work with Assembler, Cobol, CICS, DB2, Rexx, look for my Linkedin profile: @t.

  44. Portentous Lad on April 13, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    This was not helpful.

  45. Arcsecant on April 13, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    If you ever log into you bank account and don’t see a random number for your money; thank the mainframe.

  46. Christian Weissmuller on April 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    why a mainframe? can’t you just use a raspberry pi to store that someone bought something in a database?

  47. MrNitKap on April 13, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Former COBOL/DB2/JCL/CICS programmer 🙂 … I have been hearing about IBM Mainframes going out of service since the first day I joined my job and was put in COBOL group in 1994 😂😂😂

  48. Pewn Teddy on April 13, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Wow. The swagger of this guy.

  49. Rado Jakubes on April 13, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    oh sweet tunnelbear

  50. Freerider on April 13, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Airports may still be using Amadeus. Basically a code language used to retrieve specific information from a system, like the itinerary of a passenger. For example a 3 letter code is programmed to retrieve one specific string of information, and it fails if the key is typed wrong in any way. So, you have to know every single key-code by heart, to use this system. Of course you’ll have plenty of practise when working at an airport lol

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