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The IBM mainframe: Building on the past, defining the future
2000s 1990s 1980s 1970s 1960s

April 7, 1964: IBM transforms computing
IBM introduces the System/360™, a family of five increasingly powerful computers that run the same operating system and can use the same 44 peripheral devices.
It's a notable achievement. Before this point, computer makers manufactured unique computers for specific customers and customers had to rewrite their software applications every time they upgraded to a larger system. None of their existing peripherals - printers, tape drives, disk storage - would work on the new system without extensive modification. Now, for the first time, customers can scale up without a complete reinvestment in software and peripherals.
System/360 was the biggest, riskiest decision I ever made
60's To get here, IBM completely reinvents the way it makes and sells computers. It discontinues its several successful computer lines, an audacious move for a profitable business, and all its creative energy and resources are harnessed to a $5 billion "bet the company" move driven by a vision of what computing could become.
The concept of a compatible family of computers, suitable for both business and scientific applications, transforms the industry.
1964: The revolutionary IBM System/360 is born. By 1970, over 80 competitors will introduce some 200 products compatible with the System/360 architecture and its peripheral devices and more than 3,000 different types of businesses and scientific research make use of one of System/360's models.
1964: SABRE takes off. American Airlines's Semi-Automatic Business-Related Environment (SABRE) system goes into full operation. The industry's first real-time reservation system links IBM computers over phone lines and handles seat inventory and passenger records from terminals in more than 65 cities. Other airlines immediately order similar systems.
1966: A social security landmark. IBM computers process some 19 million Medicare identification cards for the Social Security Administration. The U.S. Congress had passed legislation creating Medicare just one year earlier.
1968: IBM introduces Customer Information Control System (CICS). It allows workplace personnel to enter, update and retrieve data online. To date, CICS® remains one of the industry's most popular transaction monitor.
1968: System/360 Model 85 introduces high speed cache memory, making high-priority data available 12 times faster than ever before -and laying the foundation for the same cache memory found across much of today's computing technology.
1969: Apollo 11's successful landing is supported by several System 360s, Information Management System (IMS) 360 and IBM software. For years to come, IBM computers will remain involved with space exploration.
1969: Over 300 patents directly or indirectly related to the System/360 architecture are issued between 1964 and the end of the decade.
1 Watson, Thomas J. and Petre, Peter: Father Son & Co, New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1990
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