This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

IBM on Friday announced a lineup of integrated mainframe, software and services packages designed for specific tasks like data warehousing, service oriented architecture and transactions.

The announcement highlights the latest hardware trend — vendors are increasingly pushing function specific hardware optimized for a certain task. Teradata, Oracle’s Exadata machine, IBM, HP and others have variations of the same theme.

IBM’s System z is its bread and butter mainframe lineup. In a statement, Big Blue said it is offering new programs to entice Sun and HP customers to migrate to Linux on System z. The company has been repositioning the mainframe to the new highly transactional workloads needed.

The latest lineup of task-specific mainframe packages are modeled after IBM’s System z for SAP effort — basically a mainframe optimized to run SAP with middleware and services bundled.

Among the tailored mainframe packages, dubbed System z Solution Edition:

  • Data Warehousing covers business intelligence deployments.
  • Application Development for distributed development.
  • Disaster Recovery with configurations for continuous availability.
  • Enterprise Security-think fraud analysis and centralized identity management.
  • Electronic payments for customers that run ACI Worldwide payment software.
  • SOA, which is a mainframe that lumps in IBM’s WebSphere Application Server.