Servers converge as part of Unisys strategy

With three new releases, Unisys Corp. is building on efforts to migrate users of its two proprietary mainframe lines to a common architecture based on Intel Corp. and Windows technologies.

The Blue Bell, Pa.-based company last week introduced new ClearPath server models that offer triple the systems capacity and double the partitions of its existing systems, according to the company.

Like their predecessors, the new systems are based on Unisys’ Cellular MultiProcessing (CMP) architecture, which allows users to mix applications running on Wintel technology with those running on proprietary Unisys processors in a single box.

The goal is to give users of Unisys’ MCP and OS 2200 mainframe operating systems a way to take advantage of their investments while offering a reliable, mainframe-class system for running newer applications, said Rod Sapp, a Unisys director.

The new systems “converge all of Unisys’ legacy environments on a single technology,” said James Cassell, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. “Users are not only going to get better price/performance but also increased functionality as a result.”

The all-Intel-based ClearPath Plus Server CS 7201 model is targeted at MCP users. The system supports up to 32 processors and eight partitions. Users can take advantage of the partitions to run a mix of MCP, Unix and Windows 2000 Advanced Server or Windows Datacenter Server applications.

The two other models introduced last week are aimed at users of the OS 2200 operating system. The ClearPath Plus Server CS 7402 box supports up to four of Unisys’ proprietary CMOS chips or Intel processors and allows users to combine OS 2200 applications with Windows applications in the same box.

Meanwhile, the new CS 7802 model supports up to 32 of Unisys’ CMOS processors and is also capable of supporting Intel chips. Like the other models, the system can support a mix of OS 2200, Windows and Unix applications.

Carnival Cruise Lines has purchased a 16-processor CS 7802 to run its core reservation and marketing applications, said Doug Eney, vice-president of systems at Miami-based Carnival. The system is about four to five times faster than the water-cooled system it replaces and delivers far greater performance, Eney said.

“It’s a very hardened, very scalable and very partitionable box,” he said.

Carnival’s new server is based entirely on Unisys’ proprietary CMOS chips and is being used to run only OS 2200-based applications, he said. But the company is considering taking advantage of ClearPath’s CMP architecture to consolidate Windows-based applications on such boxes, Eney said.