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The demise of the mainframe computer has been predicted for nearly 20 years. First the mini-computer from vendors like Computervision, Data General, DEC, Honeywell, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Prime, and Wang Computer challenged the dominance of the mainframe and expanded computing to midsized enterprises. Advances in x86 based micro-computer technologies all but eliminated the mini-computer market and now these same devices are threatening the existence of the mainframe.
The technologies where the mainframe dominated are migrating to the smaller systems:
- High availability.
- Shared storage.
- Single point of management.
While the mainframe, in particular the one remaining star of the field, the IBM System z, continues to have advantages over distributed x86-based systems, advances in technology at the “low end” have now reached the point of seriously threatening the mainframe world for all but legacy applications.