Throughout the 1970s and 80s, computer terminals such as the IBM 3270 crept up in office environments allowing staff to easily retrieve data from the company’s mainframe. Mainframes tend to come with a hefty price tag and due to significant investment and mission-critical functions, are subject to much less frequent changes. Whilst the computer terminals gradually were replaced with PCs, the mainframes often remained. The protocol for communications lived on (e.g. as TN3270E) allowing emulation of the original computer terminals themselves.
In Part 3 I’ll be checking out Microsoft SNA Server included with BackOffice 2.0, following from Exchange Server and Internet Information Server some time ago. SNA refers to IBM’s proprietary Systems Network Architecture dating back to 1974. SNA Server was superseded by Microsoft with Host Integration Server in the early 2000s.