Any computer you can't lift. Generally requires a raised floor and dedicated air conditioning. Some good examples are big iron are:

  • Sun 690MP
  • Sun Ultra Enterprise 500 and up
  • Most of the VAX machines; especially the VAX 11/780
  • Silicon Graphics Origin 2000, Onyx, etc.

The true definition of big iron varies, of course. I call anything a well muscled person can't lift big iron. Some people require that a machine require three-phase power before receiving that title. YMMV

Big Gray Wall = B = Big Red Switch

big iron n.

[common] Large, expensive, ultra-fast computers. Used generally of number-crunching supercomputers such as Crays, but can include more conventional big commercial IBMish mainframes. Term of approval; compare heavy metal, oppose dinosaur.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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