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Large banks typically have very scalable front-office trading systems which can process hundreds or thousands of trades per second. Most of these are distributed systems running on large numbers of commodity PCs, usually running Linux.

However the back office booking systems are typically mainframe based. These systems cost literal millions per year for just the hardware and licensing alone.

I often hear anecdotally that there are specific advantages to the mainframe architecture for this particular job. Can anyone explain what the differences are and why they are worth the money?

Or are mainframes now used simply because of their inertia in terms of existing proven software and availability of people with the right mix of business and software skills?

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closed as not a real question by EBGreen, Hennes, Diogo, ChrisF, 8088 Oct 25 '12 at 16:06

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You are asking for a long protracted discussion regarding opinion with this question. These sorts of questions are not really a good fit for superuser. You might want to bring it up in chat chat.stackexchange.com you may be able to get a discussion started there. –  EBGreen Oct 25 '12 at 14:28