n. a large digital computer serving 100-400 users and occupying a special air-conditioned room [syn: mainframe]
Mainframe computers (colloquially referred to as " big iron") are computers used primarily by large organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and transaction processing.
The term originally referred to the large cabinets called "main frames" that housed the central processing unit and main memory of early computers. Later, the term was used to distinguish high-end commercial machines from less powerful units. Most large-scale computer system architectures were established in the 1960s, but continue to evolve.