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Introduction to Mainframe
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Mainframe Features

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Mainframe Features

Enterprise class mainframe integration goes beyond the basic capability to connect to mainframe datasources to distributed platforms. It requires that the underlying mainframe integration architecture be engineered to extend the characteristics of mainframe quality of service high performance, scalability, security, reliability and manageability to the distributed applications using the mainframe resources. Shadow's exploitation of IBM's specialty engines, the zIIP and zAAP, offers improved performance while lowering the Total Cost of Operation (TCO) by diverting processing intensive data and SOA integration workloads from the General Purpose Processor to the unmeasured, non-speed restrictive environment of the specialty engines.


The mainframes are equipped with large number of high processing embedded CPUs which offer it greatest processing capacity.

Huge Memory Capacity:

The memory capacity embedded within mainframe is very huge so as to support large scale operations of mainframe applications. In some cases it can even amount to more than 8 Gigabyte.

Systems Management Performance Analysis and Tuning - Enables rapid views of workload levels running through Shadow. Organizes data into tables, charts and graphs for high-value capacity planning and trending analysis. Application Debugging - Enables detailed tracing and logging with multiple levels of analysis to aid design time and run-time problem diagnosis with 100+ capture points. Automation - Allows automated management of large-scale Shadow implementations for improved availability and throughput. Comprehensive execution of events monitored with a wide range of automated actions available. Monitoring and Control - Provides online, real-time visibility and measurement of all Shadow-related activity to preserve service. Multiple resource utilization thresholds available with a broad range of automated responses for resource breaches. Security Security Optimization and Management (SOM) enables the use of cached credentials for improved performance and lower costs while maintaining the integrity of the security infrastructure with the real-time purging invalidated credentials as security policies change Auditing - Identifies ultimate, unique end-user of mainframe resources in a standard thread-pooled application platform environment. Encryption - Optimizes encryption of information traveling between the application platform and the mainframe. Manages digital certificates on the mainframe. Virtual Authentication - Provides authentication flexibility to reduce vulnerabilities of program-initiated authentication requests to a mainframe. Subsystem Security Integration - Identifies ultimate end-user of mainframe resources in a standard, thread-pooled application platform environment. Mainframe and Distributed Security - Fully integrates with RACF, CA-TopSecret and CA-ACF2 to provide a robust security model. Distributed platforms support for SSL and client-side, certificate-based authentication. Transactions Distributed Transaction Management - Supports prevalent J2EE and .NET distributed transaction management. Built to X/Open XA transaction management standards with support for BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, BEA Tuxedo and Microsoft Transaction Services thread management and choreography. Support for Enterprise Transactions - Full "two-phase commit" (2PC) Transaction Support. Extensive support for z/OS Resource Recovery Services (RRS). All XA 2PC semantics are supported and exposed directly or via application server transaction manager support. z/OS Resource Recovery Services - Enables transaction management via extensive exploitation of z/OS Resource Recovery Services (RRS). All updates made via Shadow within the same global transaction are handled with a single-phase transaction. Scalability Load Balancing and Failover - Ensures ultimate levels of scalability and availability. Connection Virtualization - Allows unlimited concurrency of connections from distributed applications. Transactional Activity Blocking - Reduces lock duration for complex transactions and significantly improves response times for Update and Insert intensive applications policy. Accounting and Chargeback Support - All integration activity supported by Shadow is logged to the z/OS Systems Measurement Facility (SMF). Various levels of granularity are supported, from session-based accounting to accounting at the interaction level.

Mainframes systems can share the workload among different processors and input/output devices. This increases the processing ability and power of the mainframe for efficient performance.

The mainframe system and application work efficiently in critical and complex business applications. This is because such operations demands the system to be available at all times with 100% throughput, and which is completely achievable and provided by mainframe system. It is achieved by mainframe system by its great design where Memory chips, memory busses, I/O channels and power supplies are provided with a pair more, ensuring the system availability throughout.


Most of the components in the mainframe system are replacable with the system operating concurrently.

Tightly Coupled Clustering Technology:

The mainframe system supports Tightly Coupled Clustering Technology also known as Parallel Sysplex. This feature facilitates operating up to 32 systems as a single system image. Even if one system fails, the work continues automatically on the next live system and there is loss of work and performance is thereby increased. Besides this makes the maintenance unit easier as one or more system which need to be maintained for hardware or software can be removed and this does not affect the remaining systems as the remaining systems continues with its processing as usual and after the maintenance the removed system can be again plugged in. Parallel Sysplex helps in acheiving reliability, availability and serviceability.

Apart from the above mentioned features Mainframe also offers:

Supports Maximum I/O connectivity
Have capability of providing Maximum I/O bandwidth
Have the greatest ability of producing fault tolerant computing.
Capacity to manage Large Users

From the above features mainframe system proves to be a best resource and application for critical and complex business operations which gives scalability, security, reliability and availability of system throughout and also proves to be cost-effective solution achieved with greater efficiency and performance which is very important for any business operation.

In this situation one might have a feeling of supercomputer to be similar terms to mainframe systems. But there are some distinct differences. Though there are some similarities like both supercomputers and mainframes support and handle parallel processing the way it is handled differs between them.

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Keywords: mainframe systems,mainframe computers,mainframe features,mainframe server

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