Applications - IBM Mainframe

The nature of the applications performed by a computer is another aspect of its size. In general, larger computers are used for a broader range of applications than are smaller computers. That is because the larger computers support more users, with more diverse needs, than do smaller computers.

To illustrate, consider a typical bank. Bank executives use microcomputers to do 'what-if analysis, make decisions, etc. Each branch may have a minicomputer to support a variety of needs for the individual branch. And the bank may have a centralized mainframe computer that supports all the bank's branches, providing for an even broader range of needs. In other words, the bank uses microcomputers for applications at the individual level, minicomputers at the departmental or branch level, and mainframe computers at the corporate level. We will see this scenario in a little more detail.

The distributed multi-branch banking system is shown in the following figure. As we have mentioned above, microcomputers are used by a few people at each branch (mainly by people who have decision-making responsibilities) to do non-routine tasks. Minicomputers are used at the branch banks and are responsible for the local processing of services such as savings and current accounts and loans. Each machine uses a copy of the same software for these functions. Mainframe at the ban headquarters performs all the consolidated accounting functions and is responsible for processing both transactions through the bank's network of automatic teller machines (ATMs) and credit card transactions.

Sometimes, computers of various sizes have similar applications that vary only in the volume of data processed. For example, a comer retail store may use a microcomputer to manage its inventory, a larger retail store may use a minicomputer for inventory management, and a large chain of retail stores may use a central mainframe computer for inventory management. All three stores use their computers for essentially the same function; it is the volume of data processed that distinguishes them.

A Multi-branch Banking System

A Multi-branch Banking System

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