Mainframes are often referred to as “Big Iron”. Mainframes play an important role in big organizations. They process huge data sets and store very large quantity of data. They perform numerous tasks and handle multiple users at a same time. If you are planning for mainframe systems in your organization, then it is important that you understand the basic requirements while installing. These include operating systems, space, power, etc.
Mainframes perform many tasks quickly and accurately. Regular operating systems that are used in PCs do not match mainframe systems. There are many operating systems exclusively designed for mainframes such as z/OS (operating system for system z), z/VSE (system z/ Virtual System Expanded), z/TPF (system z/ Transaction Processing Facility), z/VM (system z/ Virtual Machine), Linux for system z, etc. Mainframe systems must be installed with operating systems that are designed for them in order to perform well.
Mainframe computers are larger in size when compared to desktop computers or servers. Mainframe systems and their parts were so big in their early stages i.e., during mid-1960s that they used to occupy the entire floor of a building. Two or three people were needed to fix or remove its parts. Their size shrank with the advancement in technology. Still their size is bigger than other computers and they occupy fairly large space.
The space occupied by the modern mainframe systems ranges from a minimum of 10 sq.ft to a maximum of 30 sq.ft depending on the model.
For example, IBM z10 EC (Enterprise class) weighs 2,271 kg and occupies 30.44 sq.ft of space. Its height is 79.3 inches (201.32 cm) while IBM z10 BC (Business class) weighs 953 kg and occupies 15.22 sq.ft. Its height is 79.3 inches (201.32 cm).
As mainframe systems continuously run and that too at high power, they generate heat. Therefore, the place where mainframe systems are installed should be cool, ventilated and free from dust. Circulation of cool air is essential for these systems. So, install them in such a place where there is a clean and free flow of air. It is said that dust and heat are the biggest enemies of mainframe systems.
They generate a minimum of 12.5 KBTU/hr to a maximum of 94 KBTU/hr of heat depending on the model again.
For example, IBM z10 EC (Enterprise class) generates 33.1 KBTU/hr to 93.8 KBTU/hr of heat, whereas IBM z10 BC (Business class) generates 12.5 KBTU/hr to 24.7 KBTU/hr of heat.
Mainframe systems handle all kinds of data of an organization including critical information like customer details, business logic, etc. For this reason, they should be well protected. There should be no spikes and surges in electric power that is supplied. Uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is very essential for mainframe systems.
A mainframe system requires a minimum of 3.7 KW to 27.5 KW of input power depending on the model.
IBM z10 EC (Enterprise class) requires a minimum of 9.7 KW and a maximum of 27.5 KW of input supply; while, IBM z10 BC (Business class) requires a minimum of 3.7KW and a maximum of 7.35KW of input supply.