Mankind has been automating tasks with computers to achieve greater efficiencies for about eighty years now. Today we rely on computers for any number of personal and business tasks – creating a document, building a spreadsheet, managing personal finances.
Most people are familiar with the personal computer and the types of work we accomplish with them and the entertainment they provide. There is, however, another class of computers that we use just as much that operate behind the scenes to run our utilities, make our travel reservations for auto, hotel, and air travel, and order goods at point of sale (POS) devices, to name a few.
These large, “enterprise class” computers have been marketed using varying terminology – mainframes (aka, Big Iron), mid-ranges, servers, distributed systems, and many others. As a general group, though, we often just refer to them as “server-based systems” or “host systems”.
Ultimately, these systems are just big servers that scale to run large quantities of transactions at any one time on the server side, while providing reasonable response time to users who are accessing these server-based applications from their client computers. Think of when you buy something online and thousands of others around the world are doing the same thing at the same time.
To illustrate the concepts discussed, we created the “Computer Host Systems” infographic. Take a short journey with Shonda, an IT administrator in a large company, who recently added responsibility for the organization’s mission-critical applications to her list of duties, and therefore has to quickly come up to speed on the different types of host systems and applications in use.
After many mergers and acquisitions, the organization has a wide range of systems supporting the business function and operation. By the end of Shonda’s journey in our “Computer Host Systems” infographic, you’ll both be in-the-know about the most common host systems (also referred to as legacy systems) running the global economy today.