Mainframe Solutions

Happy 47th Birthday IBM Mainframe

by Dr.Steve.Guendert on ‎04-01-2011 01:10 PM (1,738 Views)

April 7th is next week and to mainframers that is a special day.  April 7th marks the 47th birthday of the IBM Mainframe. Some may argue that IBM had other "mainframes" prior to this date, such as the IBM 701 Defense Calculator  However, to me April 7, 1964 is a red letter date in the history of computing: the announcement of IBM's System 360.

s 360.jpg

What is interesting to me as a Brocade employee, and what I like to remind our customers and partners about is that for many of those 47 years Brocade has been there with IBM's mainframe team.  Specifically, Brocade has been there working with IBM on I/O channels and storage networking since the mid-1980s going back to Bus and Tag channel extension.  What?,  you say Brocade's not that old of a company.  Well, you would be correct (partially).  Brocade has been built to its modern incarnation through a series of strategic acquisitions.  These acquistions include mainframe networking stalwarts such as TBar, Data Switch, General Signal, Computerm, Inrange, CNT, and McDATA.  (See the attached Brocade family tree PDF). And most importantly, many of the highly skilled mainframers who were at those companies acquired by Brocade are still here as my esteemed colleagues.

Yes, for nearly 30 of those 47 years Brocade has been there buidling parralel (bus and tag), ESCON and FICON channel extension.  Brocade has been there developing and manufacturing ESCON directors such as the CD/9000 and the IBM 9032-3 and 9032-5.  As a matter of fact, all of the ESCON directors still installed in data centers today are Brocade products.  The 9037-1 Sysplex Timer was another Brocade product. Brocade developed FICON with IBM and when IBM needed a partner to develop the FICON to ESCON conversion technology for the 9032-5 they turned to Brocade and the result was US Patent 6,148,004 issued November 14, 2000, more commonly known as the FICON Bridge Card.

Brocade developed the first FICON directors (ED5000, FC 9000 and ED6064) and US Patent 6,381,642 issued April 30, 2002, more commonly known as FICON CUP.  That was followed by another 5 generations of FICON directors leading to our current DCX and DCX-4S.  Brocade developed the first small port count FICON switch in 2002 and are currently on our 4th generation FICON switch.  We are now on our 4th generation of FICON channel extension platform.

Our competitor has been in the mainframe storage networking business for 7 years with a platform based on an IP switch and does not even know the mainframe basics such as what RMF stands for-they call it the Remote Monitoring Facility in their white papers.

Brocade and its employees has proudly been standing there with the IBM mainframe at its birthday parties for many of those 47 years.

Happy birthday IBM Mainframes, and thank you Mr. Watson!

on ‎04-01-2011 04:36 PM

Why heck, you don't look a day over 45!

on ‎04-17-2011 11:53 AM

Great article gentlemen.  My first mainframe was a an IBM 360/20.  Oh, how we've evolved.