IBM has announced seven different hardware and software packages that include the System z mainframe and target specific application workloads such as disaster recovery and data warehousing.
The move is an effort by Big Blue to keep the mainframe relevant and attractive for whose who might otherwise select a distributed server infrastructure in difficult economic times. It also piggybacks off a similar package IBM put together last year for SAP applications, an offering that has helped cause 20% growth in SAP applications on the mainframe, according to IBM.
The packages are for data warehousing, application development, disaster recovery, security, risk mitigation and WebSphere; and include mainframe hardware, middleware and maintenance applications. More details here.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is the news that IBM is slashing the cost of the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), the mainframe specialty engine designed to run Linux applications. Once around $100,000, they will now cost less than $50,000.
Linux has certainly been a bright spot for IBM on the mainframe. According to the company, more than half of the unique applications on the platform are now for Linux, and more than 40% of new System z customers installed Linux last year. It seems as if the mainframe has largely become a box that hosts old z/OS applications too costly/burdensome to migrate off, and consolidated Linux servers. Halving the cost of the processor that runs them is a clear move by IBM to try to stay cost competitive with distributed servers on the Linux front, especially considering the proliferation of chip cores that is flowing out of Intel and AMD chip labs these days.