Unisys Corp.s new top-of-the-line MCP-based system, the 40-processor ClearPath Plus Libra Model 180, extends the server lines capabilities to adjust performance based on workload demand and to manage multiple operating systems running simultaneously in a single box.
The Libra, the successor to the companys NX series, is designed to give customers not only extensive options in selecting applications—from Unisys MCP software to Unix-based software such as Linux to Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2000 Datacenter—but also improved manageability to partition resources and manage performance on the fly, according to officials with Unisys, of Blue Bell, Pa.
The Libra, priced starting at $954,000, features a blend of processors to run a wide range of applications and can accommodate up to eight Unisys CMOS chips and an additional 32 Intel Corp. Xeon or Itanium processors.
Using Unisys Cellular Multiprocessing technology, a single system can be divided into 10 partitions, or virtual servers, with each partition able to run different operating systems and software, officials said. Users can redistribute memory and the number of processors among partitions without shutting down the system.
One IT manager is sold on the partitioning capabilities and on a "capacity-on-demand" option, which allows users to tap extra processing power—for a fee—to handle temporary surges in workloads. "This computer really solves a multitude of problems for me," said Dan Fisher, CIO for Community First Bankshares Inc., a $5.7 billion financial institution based in Fargo, N.D., that purchased the Libra.
Fisher said the enhanced partitioning will improve his ability to run test applications before rolling them out, and the capacity-on-demand feature enables him to tap additional computing power whenever needed.
Capacity on demand lets customers use extra processors or memory built into a server to adjust to heavier workloads on short notice.
Another feature of the Libra is performance redistribution, which enables users to boost the performance of individual processors as needed.
"I doubt youll see new customer wins with this, but this system should prove attractive to their installed base," said Rob Schafer, an analyst at Meta Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn. "While Unisys has seen some customer erosion, the companies who are left are the big corporations that would have a difficult time migrating away."