NASA Shuts Down Last Mainframe, Signals End of an Era

The mainframe was located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The massive, 6-year-old 2094-s54 model has 54 main processors and 512 GB of memory. According to Wikipedia, S54 mainframes cost "millions of dollars" when new. NASA CIO Linda Cureton wrote in a blog post that the shutdown of the Z9 ends the "mainframe era" at NASA. She noted that mainframes still have their place in computing where it does not matter if "end-user interfaces are clunky and somewhat inflexible," when there is a need for a system that delivers "extremely reliable, secure transaction oriented business applications."

According to Cureton, NASA kept the Z9 operational for older applications that are now being phased out. NASA apparently has not developed mainframe application in some time, which made the mainframe a rather costly proposition. Cureton also noted that NASA an save some money by shutting down some software licenses that are tied to the system, which runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (RHEL4).

NASA's first IBM mainframe, a 360/91 Model, shipped to NASA in 1967.

  • zorky9
    I bet that can still play Crysis.
  • jdamon113
    can I have it
  • Netherscourge
    Wow, that thing must be LOADED with space porn!

  • nforce4max
    At least by shutting it down they now have a little more room in their budget for other projects and upgrades to other systems they have.
  • ben850
    I wonder what kind of tasks they gave this powerful machine..

    Also makes me wonder what kind of machines the government uses to crack encrypted data.
  • ProDigit10
    NASA could start renting out the mainframe!
    Another option is to sell it, before it becomes slower than a hand cellphone!
  • ta152h
    She forgot to mention performance. The z/196 at 5.2 GHz is considerably more powerful than even a Bulldozer. OK, so is my vintage 8088 if I jack it up to 7.16 MHz.
  • esrever
    can't read the word mainframe without thinking about reboot...
  • A Bad Day
    Considering the fact that NASA receives less funding than US Air Force's air conditioning costs, why am I not surprised they're forced to slash budgets?
  • SteelCity1981
    And now it's only worth thousands of dollars. :)