Unisys preaches Java for large Wintel box

Looking to scale Java applications on its Windows-based multiprocessor system, Unisys Corp. on Monday will announce availability of a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for its ES7000 server running Windows and as many as 32 Intel Corp. processors.

The Unisys JVM enables Windows variants such as Windows Datacenter to handle Java application workloads that had been the domain of more expensive Unix servers, according to Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys.

A Unisys official said Java-based applications are prevalent in Windows environments, even if Microsoft is not a major proponent of Java. “If you look at customers out there, even if they’re running Windows they’ve got some Java-based applications that they’re running,” said Walt Lapinsky, director of strategic software at Unisys, in Tredyffrin, Pa.

“In some cases, they may be running them on non-Windows servers, but they probably have something out there,” Lapinsky said.

One analyst had mixed feelings about the Unisys JVM, saying it boosts the ability to run Windows on a mainframe-class system, but that the JVM lacks support of major application servers.

“It’s kind of interesting, [the announcement] means that Unisys is expanding the ability for people to leverage Windows on a mainframe-like platform for more than just Windows apps,” said John Meyer, senior industry analyst at Forrester Research, in Washington.

“The issue is to date there are no application server vendors yet that ‘support’ their applications servers on [Unisys’] JVM,” Meyer said. While BEA’s or IBM’s application servers may run on Windows, they would not take advantage of the capabilities of the ES7000, said Meyer. However, users could run the JBoss open source application server on the Unisys box and get good performance, he added.

Unisys, in an e-mail response pertaining to the application server support issue, said not all customers need a top-of-the-line application server. Offerings such as the JBoss or Apache Tomcat may suffice, according to Unisys. The company added that it would anticipate that with the availability of the Unisys JVM on Windows Datacenter, major application server providers might be interested in taking another look at the market.

BEA Systems CTO Scott Dietzen said BEA would take a wait-and-see approach to supporting the Unisys JVM.

The JVM is available on the Internet free of charge, the company said.

Unisys’ JVM is designed for Windows Server operating systems including the 2003 Datacenter Edition, 2003 Enterprise Edition, 2000 Datacenter Server and 2000 Advanced Server. It is based on Java HotSpot technology, enabling the JVM to take advantage of memory resources and other large-system capabilities of the ES7000, according to Unisys.