Unisys to launch prebuilt Microsoft database servers

Promising to reduce the time and hassle involved in setting up large databases, Unisys Corp. has announced a line of servers that come pre-configured with software and hardware from Microsoft Corp., EMC Corp., Veritas Corp. and others.

The ES7000 servers are based on Intel Corp. processors and run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Datacenter Server and its SQL Server database. The idea is to make it easier for organizations to deploy a large database as a “ready to run” package rather than by assembling the systems piece by piece, Unisys said in a statement.

The configurations on offer are for workloads ranging from 7,000 to 27,000 concurrent users, with a storage capacity ranging from 1TB to 9TB, according to the statement. Information about pricing and when the systems would be available was not immediately available, and Unisys could not be reached.

The systems will be offered in clustered and nonclustered configurations and also will include networking and storage gear and backup services. Other vendor partners involved include Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and NetIQ Corp.

Microsoft has been working hard to boost the adoption of its server software in corporate data centers and Unisys has been a big partner in those efforts, noted Rob Enderle, a research fellow with Giga Information Group Inc. However, he added, Microsoft is still battling skepticism in the industry as to whether its software is robust enough for such large-scale back-end systems.

The economic downturn could play into its hands with this offering, he said. IT departments have gotten smaller, and some analysts see a need for systems that can be set up using fewer IT staff and less expertise. Unisys may well be trying to capitalize on the perceived need for such “plug-and-play” offerings, Enderle said.

For companies whose needs aren’t met by the prebuilt offerings, Unisys will offer a free Web-based tool that helps them figure out what configuration they need. IT staff can enter information about transactional workload, system type, and storage and availability requirements and the tool will return a recommended configuration. The tool is at http://www.unisys.com/datacenter/sizing

Oracle Corp. has also worked with hardware partners to offer preconfigured systems for its Oracle9i database. In June, for example, it said it would work with Dell Computer Corp. and Red Hat Inc. to sell Linux-based database clusters using standard Intel-based servers.

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