Sunday 16 June 2024

The Resurrection Of Flossie, The 5.5 Tonne Mainframe

The National Museum of Computing have recently acquired Flossie.  She is the fifty year old ICT1301 mainframe system. It will probably be some time before a sufficient space is found to display this exceptionally interesting piece of history.  Flossie’s 42m2 footprint is not an easy thing to accommodate.  In a world where we can now buy terminal emulators for iPad, it’s hard to believe that Flossie is what mainframe systems looked like only fifty years ago.  What an incredible testament to just how far technology has come in a relatively short space of time.

At the time, the ICT1301 signified an important change in mainframe computing. 16,000 transistors were put in place of the vacuum valves that were needed in the older mainframes.  This meant that the ICT1301 could be installed in a number of different environments without the need for complicated cooling systems or fabricated floors. The mainframe had never been so low maintenance before.

Today’s mainframes may have changed considerably in terms of both appearance and power, but organisational reliance on them doesn’t appear to have changed at all. More and more businesses are looking to their mainframe systems to provide them with a competitive edge.  Of course these days we now have leading solutions that enhance access to mainframe applications.

If you are looking to implement terminal emulation software in your company, it’s important to choose the right provider.  Not all mainframe providers are the same. You want one that has a proven track record. Mainframe projects are well-known for not reaching completion and so you’ll definitely find some providers have better track records than others.  You’ll even find some that have 100% success rates.

You’ll find these companies do take on projects unless they’ve already assessed that they will be successful. The best providers will help you to conduct a viability analysis before you purchase the software.  This enables you to assess returns and provide a base case build service to make sure you see a quick return.  The right provider will also provide extensive training and mentoring after your purchase. They should have an impressive portfolio of customer testimonials and should also facilitate you contacting previous customers.

Today’s terminal emulation software can significantly improve the success of a business. Mainframes are now assisting to modernise many an industry and their success only looks set to grow in the future.  I think we can safely say that Flossie would be proud.