IBM Unwraps Linux-Powered Mainframe Packages

IBM today announced the System z Solution Edition Series, seven combined packages it says are designed to assist customers migrate off older HP and Sun Unix systems and onto IBM’s mainframes running Linux.

These integrated hardware, software and services packages are designed to assist in migrating typical Unix workloads as well as deploying new workloads on a System z in a way that is price-competitive.

IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) most recent generation of mainframes, the z10, has been on the market since early 2008 and was viewed as giving new life to the aging mainframe. Since the z10 came out, IBM has been touting its ability to run Linux, offering mainframe performance and reliability with the popular new operating system.

“Now more than ever, companies and government are looking for ways to maximize their IT investments,” said Karl Freund, vice president of IBM System z strategy and marketing in a statement. “The programs announced today offers clients the strengths of System z at prices they are going to love, helping them deploy or consolidating workloads across enterprises and streamline IT infrastructures into a high-performance, energy-efficient environment.”

One of the special editions is actually an update to an existing offering. IBM and SAP launched a similar offering in early 2008 to provide near-continuous availability and secure data protection with DB2 for z/OS databases on System z. The solution adds support for Linux-based SAP applications on the System z platform in addition to z/OS.

More System z editions

In addition to the SAP update, there are six new systems starting with System z Solution Edition for Data Warehousing, which is designed for rapid deployment of data warehousing systems. IBM expects to release more System z special editions dedicated to analytic warehousing workloads this year.

The System z Solutions Edition for Application Development provides a full development environment for creating applications that take full advantage of the mainframe’s reliability and workload distribution functions.

The System z Solutions Edition for GDPS (Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex) is specifically designed to balance the load or handle failover among multiple mainframes, either at one location or spread out at many locations. It has, up to now, only been available on z/OS.

System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Security is a security mainframe that handles everything from managing online security threats to managing business and regulatory compliance. It also offers centralized enterprise identity and access management, encryption and key management, and fraud analysis.

IBM said the System z Solution Edition for ACI is a highly vertical system for customers that run applications from ACI Worldwide, an electronic payment system vendor serving 800 customers in 88 countries for things like point of sale systems, ATMs and banks.

Finally, there is System z Solution Edition for WebSphere, which combines System z technology with IBM’s WebSphere Application Server for building Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) applications and services.

IBM also announced new pricing for its Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), also known as a “specialty engine”, to help companies consolidate workloads from older servers into Linux-based System z platform mainframes.

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