Strange days indeed
A decade ago, technology savants considered mainframe computers dinosaurs that would inevitably be replaced by rafts of cheaper computer servers based on commodity microprocessors. But IBM, which has driven competitors from the mainframe market, has managed to keep many customers in sectors like banking, airlines and government agencies. These users are reluctant to drop the company's mainframes, which are based on a proprietary operating system, because it would force them to rewrite millions of lines of software code that was developed for earlier generations of the high-priced, reliable machines.
IBM executives predict that the new Z10 mainframe, which goes on sale today with a base price of $1 million, may even take away some market share from low-end servers. The company says customers can consolidate computing jobs on the mainframe, which the company says is more energy efficient and takes less floor space in crowded corporate computer rooms.