Here we look at some of the most important events and inventions in the history of computing, from the humble abacus to mainframes, terminal emulation software, the internet and social media. It's a brief and information-packed timeline of computer history.
The business world is full of buzzwords but none seem to be gaining more traction in recent times than "cloud computing". But what exactly is cloud computing? There seem to be so many different definitions of what it entails that pinning down an exact definition is extremely difficult. In this article, we'll help demystify the concept of cloud computing by looking at how it is implemented in practical situations: what types of cloud services are being offered and who is using them? We'll also discuss how cloud computing is in many ways, an extension of the mainframe terminals of the 1970s, as well as the role that 3270 emulation and other emulators still play today.
Terminal emulation refers to a type of software that allows end users to access a host computer or mainframe. The original terminals of the 1960s and '70s were crude pieces of hardware that performed a single function: accessing their host. Because of these limited capabilities, terminals did not survive in the multi-functional modern computing environment. Instead, terminal emulation software was introduced to mimic the original terminal hardware on a modern PC.
In the 1960s, IBM designed a large scale computer system architecture which would forever change the world of big business. This mainframe was called System/360 and it allowed for the type of real-time processing and computational power that enabled the kinds of online features we take for granted today, such as credit card authorisations, airline bookings, grocery scanning and so forth. System/360 also helped power the US space program, enabling NASA to put a man on the moon. And while IBM's mainframes, accessed with user-friendly terminal emulation software, remain a crucial part of big business today, what many don't realise is that the Soviet Union also created its own clones of System/360, known as ES EVM.