The launch of the System/360 family introduced IBM's Solid Logic Technology (SLT), a new technology that was the start of more powerful but smaller computers.
The slowest System/360 model announced in 1964, the Model 30, could perform up to 34,500 instructions per second, with memory from 8 to 64 KB. High performance models came later. The 1967 IBM System/360 Model 91 could execute up to 16.6 million instructions per second. The larger 360 models could have up to 8 MB of main memory, though that much main memory was unusual—a large installation might have as little as 256 KB of main storage, but 512 KB, 768 KB or 1024 KB was more common. Up to 8 megabytes of slower (8 microsecond) Large Capacity Storage (LCS) was also available for some models.
The IBM 360 was extremely successful in the market, allowing customers to purchase a smaller system with the knowledge they would always be able to migrate upward if their needs grew, without reprogramming of application software or replacing peripheral devices. Many consider the design one of the most successful computers in history, influencing computer design for years to come.
The chief architect of System/360 was Gene Amdahl, and the project was managed by Fred Brooks, responsible to Chairman Thomas J. Watson Jr. The commercial release was piloted by another of Watson's lieutenants, John R. Opel, who managed the launch of IBMâs System 360 mainframe family in 1964.
Application-level compatibility (with some restrictions) for System/360 software is maintained to the present day with the System z mainframe servers.