Unisys Clears Path To Single Architecture

New server finishes shift of mainframes to run multiple OSes

With the introduction of its newest ClearPathPlus server last week, Unisys Corp. has completed migrating all of its proprietary mainframe-class servers to a single architecture based largely on Intel Corp. technologies.

The ClearPath Plus Libra Model 180 gives users of the company's high-end Enterprise Server NX6830 a way to run applications written for Unisys' proprietary MCP operating system, as well as those for Windows, Unix and Linux.

The new ClearPath system is based on Unisys' Cellular MultiProcessing (CMP) architecture, which lets users mix applications running on Wintel technology with those running on proprietary Unisys processors in a single box.

The Model 180 supports up to 40 processors and 40 partitions, and delivers up to 50% more application-level performance than the NX6830, according to Rod Sapp, a director at Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys.

New with the ClearPath Plus Libra is a performance distribution technology that's capable of dynamically allocating computing resources to applications as they need it.

That gives MCP users a single, centralized resource based on open technologies for managing diverse computing resources, Sapp said. And it lets users protect their investments in their legacy systems.

"This fulfills the Unisys commitment to transition all of our mainframe server offerings to the CMP architecture," Sapp said. "The only place we had not done it until now was the high-end MCP environment."

Community First Bankshares in Fargo, N.D., has purchased one of the servers because of its partitioning abilities, its I/O performance and its support for multiple operating systems, said CIO Dan Fisher.

The financial services company plans to use the server to run its core MCP-based banking applications, as well as to host new Windows-based applications, Fisher said. The server's partitioning capabilities will also let the bank run development, test and production applications in the same server, he added. "We're highly appreciative of the box. We've been waiting for it for some time," Fisher said.

But the systems and workload management software required to manage the multiple operating environments supported by these servers needs to mature before users can take full advantage, said Robert Schafer, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

The ClearPath Plus Libra servers are available immediately and range in performance from a box capable of 40 MIPS and costing $954,000 to a maxxed-out 2,100-MIPS system that can cost $17 million.

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Migration Path

The Unisys ClearPath Plus Libra Model 180 supports:

CAPACITY ON DEMAND:

Administrators can add processing capacity and scale it back depending on the workload.

WORKLOAD PRICING:

Unisys provides substantial discounts for use of ClearPath Plus partitions devoted to application development as well as production work based on selected 4GL development tools.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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