Unisys unveils AMD server, virtualization services

Unisys is releasing several virtualization services and its first server based on AMD processors, the company announced Wednesday.

Unisys was historically an Intel-only shop because Xeon processors are ideal for transaction-intensive database applications, says Colin Lacey, vice president of Unisys systems and storage. Unisys decided the time was right for an AMD-based server after getting wind of the Rapid Virtualization Indexing technology in quad-core Opteron processors. These chip enhancements allow virtual machines to more directly manage memory, thus improving performance of virtualized applications.

The result for Unisys is the new ES7000 Model 7405R, an eight-socket, quad-core server that can support 128 virtual machines. (Compare server products.)

While Unisys will continue to sell its numerous Intel-based servers, Lacey says, “We see an interesting intersect here with quad-core and [AMD’s] Rapid Virtualization Indexing.” Pricing for the AMD-based server starts at US$21,000 and can go up to $50,000 or so depending on the configuration.

The Unisys virtualization push began in February when the company said it would shift its servers and storage business from a hardware-centric approach to one that also emphasizes services and virtualization offerings. Unisys, which is attempting a multi-year effort to reverse poor financial results, also upgraded its Intel-based server line with quad-core processors and a new set of blade servers in February.

This week, Unisys coupled its AMD-based server announcement with new professional services for virtualized servers, storage and Windows desktops. Here’s a quick look at each service:

— 3D Blueprinting for Virtualization. Utilizing business and systems modeling software, Unisys says this service defines objectives for virtualization, maps business goals to IT objectives and establishes an implementation strategy.

— Virtualization Operational Readiness Assessment. This is designed to give customers a full understanding of virtualization’s impact on the data center before deployment. “Using a workshop approach, clients can determine how they must change business and IT processes for virtualization, identify gaps, prioritize areas for change and assess technology and people and process issues that can impact implementation,” Unisys states in a press release.

— Consolidated Desktop Solution. Using Microsoft technologies and a Unisys session broker, this service helps Windows shops host desktops on centralized servers and storage systems and give users access with thin clients.

— Consolidated Solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. With this service, Unisys makes it easier to consolidate hardware devoted to Exchange. Customers often have hundreds of servers for the various Exchange applications, and need a system that can save energy and make sure all servers receive the right patches, says Mark Feverston, general manager of Microsoft solutions for Unisys. One European bank using this service took 40 servers handling 20,000 mailbox accounts and reduced them to just two servers, according to Unisys.

— Unisys Storage Virtualization. This service helps customers integrate storage into one virtualized pool that can be managed with a single interface. “The Storage Virtualization solutions use Unisys assessment, implementation, management and support services, complemented by best-in-class storage virtualization technology from select Unisys partners [such as EMC and Incipient],” Unisys says.

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