Unisys readies 32-processor mainframe

Unisys Corp. on Monday will begin shipping two new mainframe systems, the company said on Thursday.

The ClearPath Plus Dorado Model 140 and Dorado Model 180 systems will replace Unisys’s current ClearPath 7402 and ClearPath 7802 models, respectively. They will serve as the high-end counterparts to the ClearPath Plus Dorado Model 110, details of which were discussed by Unisys officials in February.

Running Unisys’s OS 2200 operating system, the Model 180 will be able to run as many as 32 processors in a single system image and have a maximum processing power of 2,350 million instructions per second (MIPS), according to IDC Research Director Lloyd Cohen, who has been briefed on the products. The Model 140 will support up to 16 processors and its processing power will range between 40 and 1,650 MIPS.

The Model 180 will also include a “performance redistribution” feature that will let administrators decide how many microprocessors to assign to any one application. “You have the freedom to partition the MIPS you like,” Unisys Program Marketing Manager Mike Hall said during a Unisys webcast on Thursday. “You decide how many and which processors to use,” he added.

This kind of performance redistribution will optimize applications such as batch processing and real-time computing, according to documents on the Unisys Web site.

“What these machines do is essentially carry the architecture forward,” said IDC’s Cohen. “It’s mostly an attraction to their installed base,” he added.

The new systems will also be able to furnish extra processing capacity on demand, which means that administrators will be able to turn extra processors on and off whenever they find a spike in demand, said Cohen. Customers will be able to turn the extra processors on for periods as brief as 24 hours, he added.

The 1,200-pound systems will be based on 1.5GHz or 2.0GHz Intel Corp. Xeon processors, depending on the configuration, and will have a maximum memory capacity of 48GB, Unisys said on its Web site.

Unisys, in Blue Bell, Pa., also will introduce “new technology that allows mainframe customers to use standards-based integration such as J2EE, .Net, Web services and more to integrate legacy applications with the rest of their IT infrastructure,” the company said in a statement.

This software will be used to run new types of programs, such as application servers, on the mainframe, said IDC Vice-President Jean Bozman. “They have to acknowledge that there are these new workloads that they have to bring on, especially as they’re competing with IBM,” she added.

Unisys declined to provide further details about the software, including the name of the product, prior to Monday’s announcement.