What Life Would Be Like Without Mainframes
Unless you’re a professional mainframe programmer, you probably don’t see or think about mainframes very often. But the fact is that no matter who you are, the world around you would likely look quite different if mainframes were not a part of it.
How? Let us explore the ways.
There would be no ATMs
Do you like the convenience of being able to withdraw cash almost anywhere from an ATM? If mainframes disappeared, that convenience would likely disappear along with them.
That is because mainframes help to power the infrastructure that makes ATMs possible.
You could not pay with plastic
Similarly, a world without ATMs would be a world without credit and debit cards. Mainframes process millions of card transactions each day.
If you couldn’t withdraw cash from an ATM or pay for things with your credit or debit card, you’d be in a tough spot, indeed. I guess you could always go to the bank, withdraw a bunch of cash and carry it around with you to make purchases, but then you’d know what life was like before the first ATM and modern credit cards debuted a half-century ago.
Insurance would be hard to get
The ten largest insurers on the planet rely on mainframes. (So do many smaller insurance companies.) That is not likely to change anytime soon.
Mainframes help insurers to process payments and claims. They may also help to do the number-crunching that enables insurance companies to assess risks and determine how much to charge you for a policy.
It may technically be possible to run an insurance company without a mainframe. But doing so would be a lot less convenient for users, who would have to go through a lot more trouble to use their policies and pay their premiums. And insurers would have a harder time accurately pricing policies and calculating risks.
Governments would not govern as effectively
Many government agencies rely heavily on mainframes, too. Sure, some citizens might be happy in the short term if some of the government organizations that depend on mainframes, such as the IRS, ceased to operate. But in the long run, the resulting breakdown in government services would not be good for anyone.
Your power might go out
Utility companies across the world also rely on mainframes to help deliver services. If mainframes suddenly disappeared, your lights may well go out. Your water might even stop running.
The bottom line is, mainframes help make life what it is today. The world would be very different without them.