Mainframe vs Server Farm: Which Is the Better Option for the Future?

Mainframe vs Server

The world as we know it primarily relies on debating parallel technologies and electing the utmost effective and useful one. 

The same talk for Mainframe vs Server has been going around, although both aim to store and control data. Provided that, you also want to know which is best in many ways, in terms of costs, benefits, use cases, maintenance, etc. 

So, the million-dollar question is which one to choose for my organization. Before that, let's know what they are basically. And we'll get to that momentarily. Hang on!

Making the correct choice has its perks and advantages, not just in the present but also in the future. Thus, choosing a prevailing and futuristic technology is the right choice to make. Clearly, both these technologies have countless benefits. 

But, for you to pick one instantly isn't the right choice either. So, knowing everything about them is the right track to choose first. Doing so can help you select your piece in the ongoing debate about it.

In this blog, we'll provide you with all the nitty-gritty bits of Mainframes and Servers and help you find out which is the better option for the future.

    Mainframe vs Server, What's the Difference?


    Simply put, a typical server is a centralized storage hub for an organization’s data, programs, and apps that control the hardware and other resources in the network. You should know, Tim Berners-Lee invented the world’s first server back in 1989. The simple work of a server is to ensure resources to connected devices whenever needed.


    Mainframe is a much faster and high-performing computer than servers, although they are big in size and costlier. They carry ultra-fast processors that can calculate billions of code lines within seconds. The mainframe was introduced by IBM in 1952, while in the 60s, it gained more momentum in the computer market.

    Key Benefits of Servers

    In contrast, a Server may not be as high-functioning as a Mainframe. Even so, Servers are hand-picked by multiple organizations. But why? That remains the actual question. For starters, a Server’s cost and size play a significant role in being favorable to plenty of organizations. And it can serve all the similar sectors as mainframes do. 

    Servers Benefits by Bullets:

    • Cater to High-Performance Computing based scientific applications
    • Ensure storage, computing, and backup services
    • Balances load
    • Many eCommerce and other large-scale sectors can leverage them for scalable growth and vice versa.
    • Serves Big Data-based affairs, namely Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, and IoT
    • Real-time processing
    • Make sure edge computing & the cloud

    Besides, all those mentioned benefits are not exclusive to servers – there are more. But all those listed benefits are the key ones of typical servers. On the other hand, the server aims to ensure scalability with low costs, unlike the Mainframe.

    Key Benefits of Mainframe

    For ultrasonic processing speed, a Mainframe is a way to, although they are huge in size. Additionally, no matter the data size, Mainframe will crush it in seconds, giving you results in less time than typical servers. This is the main reason that Mainframe usage is growing, majorly in the finance and banking sectors. 

    Mainstream Benefits by Bullets:

    • Powerful and high-functioning machines
    • Used significantly in larger enterprises
    • Quickly process terabytes of data within a short span of time
    • Single Mainframe to handle various types of activities
    • Handle big data with no trouble
    • Servers cannot stand a chance to their high-processing ability
    • Highly secure, available, robust, and a centralized source

    All those listed above are not the comprehensive benefits of Mainframe as they are countless, although these benefits are compelling enough, giving the slightest hint of the future. 

    More importantly, Mainframe is high-demanded and caters to mission-critical services when needed, unlike servers.

    The Long-Term Prospect

    In the long dispute between Mainframe vs Server, both have leading-edge qualities and the capability to push an organization forward. 

    But when it comes to having full standings in the future, one has to lose the debate significantly-provided that it's not that simple yet complex, and elongated examination may come in the way again and again. 

    So what you think is the best and the utmost futuristic option to grab may or may not fill the gap for future demand. That is, many organizations need their suitable technology at that time. And for reduced cost and size, servers can easily be the leading player. But in terms of speed and performance mainframe is the way to go.

    Between them, what's best majorly relies on the organizations' pickings. Larger enterprises such as giant tech companies, healthcare industries, and government agencies use the Mainframe for their valid and compelling reasons – that is, to snowball. 

    On the flip side, tens and thousands of mid-size corporations use servers to fulfill their needs with minimum cost and size. Though sometimes, it gets as simple as it can be. For instance, when you need something cost-efficient – choose a server, but when you need something high-functioning – choose a mainframe.

    That being said, the excellent choice and the best option for the future ultimately come down to your corporation's needs. Additionally, servers use is growing at an exponential rate. 

    But a mainframe remains at a moderate track of growth. The essential things that are likely to take part in their slow and fast growth are cost, size, and performance. Let's have a look at them.

    Cost Of Mainframe vs Server

    You and I; both know it. Mainframes are more costly than servers. Not to mention a single Mainstream computer can cost you around 75,000 US dollars. On the other hand, servers have flexible uses with variance costs. 

    For servers, you can deplete cloud services, or you can buy your own on-premises server. And surprisingly, both use cases of servers' prices are significantly low than a single mainframe. For example, cloud Servers may cost you around $100 - $200 monthly, depending on the storage size. 

    Then again, having your server at your offices or organizations will cost you around $1000 - $3000, which can vary depending on the storage size. Thus, for a small corporation is the best handle to grab. But for large enterprises that can afford major costs, a mainframe is the way to go. 

    Size of Mainframe vs Server

    Speaking of their sizes, mainframe computers are huge while servers are small. You may also wonder how big or how small they are. A typical mainframe size can vary from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet and can occupy an entire room or even larger. 

    How big are the servers? An average server rack and be around 19 inches – pretty small, right. 

    So when you have a startup in mind and want to start from your garage, probably mainframes are the best option over servers. And we highly recommend server use in startup cases – no need to waste a lot of money on something which is not even started. 

    Thus, now you know, these very size factors can be an issue for using these technologies in the first place, although servers, in term of size and cost, has passed the test with flying colors. But what about performance?

    Performance of Mainframe vs Server

    What do you feel, which one will win the performance contest? Did I hear Mainframe? If you have a mainframe in mind, you are absolutely right.

    Mainframe is the king of performance in this era and has been from the day it was introduced, although server can cater to almost any sector workings just fine. But there are no beatings to mainframes for a broader and quicker approach.

    Too often, mainstreams are considered to handle intelligent technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics.

    However, servers can, too, manage and process these kinds of data. But then again, it does not process them as fast as mainframes. So for the world to be super active and yielding, a mainframe can help it become one.


    To sum up, Server vs Mainframe both are competent in their own ways and have the potential to last for an extended time in the future as well. In this era of Information and Technology, servers are most picked by IT industries for their low cost, simple and easy maintenance, and flexibility. 

    Hence, servers are the foremost and widely used by abundance corporations. And it is technically ruling this digitally-driven world, without a doubt, although for much quicker and thriving growth, we need mainframes. 

    Not to mention only tech giants are using mainframes, not the mid-sized/small-sized industries. And that proves we cannot ignore mainframes either. Thus, you can select any based on your corporation's needs.

    Despite servers' widespread use in magnitude, mainframes are the handle to grab once our startups prove their success, which has been the case for many. Besides, many Custom iPhone app development deployments have taken place on servers than mainframes.

    So, apart from making my blog so much contradicting between Mainframe vs Server, you can choose whichever you find to fit your corporation, while at this moment, both are the future and the present.

    Author Bio

    Ghulam Mohi Uddin Content Producer for the software development company. He develops and implements content strategies for Cubix, along with aligning business goals with content marketing activities. He actively contributes articles related to digital and content marketing.

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