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Mainframe as superserver? It does have a place in personal computer network.

MAINFRAME AS SUPERSERVER?

The personal computer age, some predicted, would see mainframes going the way of the dinosaur.

But mainframes are in no danger of extinction, judging from recent announcements by major vendors of new, more powerful models.

IBM, Fujitsu, and Amdahl will bring far more potent machines to market next year, along with Hitachi, which was the first to announce new mainframes.

As PCs and workstations generate more data, and business migrates from a local to global orientation, the need frows for computing power to handle this information.

The trend toward PC networks and large corporate databases is creating a new role for mainframes as "superservers" within distributed networks, says Carl Claunch of Hitachi Data Systems.

The burgeoning number of PCsand workstations, and their increasing potency, increased demand for still more power on the desktop--different computers for different jobs, departmental interconnectivity, and customized applications. Such complex work generates an enormous amount of data that must be accessible to many users.

"The growing supply of information demands a large corporate computer that can be accessed by many users," says Claunch.

In an aerospace company, several designers throughout the organization use independent workstations to develop and design different parts of an airplane. Eventually the data necessary to create these parts needs to "become a whole" within the corporate mainframe database.

These smaller, independent, desktop machines cannot link additional systems or provide critical data management functions, ceding to mainframes their traditional edges: unmatched power, efficiency, and security.

"The early theory that desktop computers would require only file servers and related storage peripherals has evolved," says Claunch. "Mainframe computers have risen from remote repositories of data to superservers and integrators of a sea of PCs."

Among users of mainframes for distributed computing are Harry and David, a dry goods mail order distributor in Medford, Ore., which plans to add 500 PCs to its operation in conjunction with its mainframe> and Ingersoll Milling Machine Co., maker of custom-designed machines for aerospace, automative, and construction equipment. It relies heavily on its mainframe-connected CAD/CAM design system.

With mainframes as superservers, users should see increased efficiency and productivity, says Claunch. They can do editing and simple modeling on the desktop, using the mainframe for complex simulations and computer-intensive jobs.
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Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1990
Words:373
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