Two-Pronged Front Frames Server Plans

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-05-07

New servers announced recently by Unisys Corp. and IBM highlight two strategies the computer makers are pursuing to attract customers. Unisys promoted the integration of Microsoft Corp. applications into high-end mainframe computing, and IBM, once again, took aim at Sun Microsystems Inc.

Unisys two ClearPath servers feature the Blue Bell, Pa., companys Cellular Multi-Processing technology, which enables greater partitioning and improved scalability.

The servers can be partitioned eight ways and handle up to 32 processors, either Unisys CMOS processors or Intel Corp. ones. By using processors in different partitions, customers can use three operating systems on one device—the traditional COBOL-based mainframe Unisys 220, Unix and Windows.

"What this does is allow [customers] to put Microsoft front-end e-business applications in the same platform as their mainframe applications," said Rodney Sapp, Unisys director of program management.

One analyst was skeptical that users want traditionally less-stable Microsoft applications on their mainframes.

"While Unisys has a loyal customer base who will buy these machines, I doubt that youll see many of them putting Microsoft on them," said John Enck, of Gartner Inc., in Fort Collins, Colo.

Prices for Unisys high-end mainframe CS7802 start at about $1 million, while those for the midrange CS7101 start around $300,000.

For its part, IBM unveiled two six-way eServers, the p620 and p660, that incorporate silicon-on-insulator technology, which IBM said provides a 35 percent boost in performance and lets a system run cooler.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., said that rival Suns Fire 3800, by contrast, uses more energy and generates more heat, two areas of increasing concern to data centers. The p620 starts at $16,000, and the p660 starts at $20,000.

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