Unisys officials are pushing forward with the company's software-defined infrastructure strategy by creating hardware independent versions of its server operating systems.
The company on April 27 unveiled two versions of its ClearPath MCP operating environment software that can run on systems from any vendors that are powered by x86 processors from Intel under VMware's ESXi platform or a system chosen by the customer that conforms to a reference specification from Unisys.
Unisys officials plan to release similar hardware-independent versions of the company's OS 2200 operating system in the future.
The move comes as the industry continues its march toward more software-defined data centers (SDDCs), where infrastructure software can run on hardware from any vendor and resources—from servers and networking to storage, CPUs and security—can be viewed and managed as a single pool that is easy to manage and scale.
At the same time, it fits with the strategy within Unisys under CEO Peter Altabef to leverage the vendor's software capabilities to expand its capabilities in the data center. Company officials said they eventually plan to evolve the ClearPath Forward systems as full software-based offerings.
"Every company needs to look for distinctiveness," Altabef told eWEEK earlier this year. "For us, even though the majority of our revenue is from IT services, the way we deliver those services and what we deliver is increasingly focused on software-led services. So we just don't want to be a typical, generic IT services company. … We're using software to really drive the company."
For many years, Unisys built mainframe systems based on its CMOS silicon that could run either the ClearPath MCP or OS 2200 operating systems. More than a decade ago, with mainframe sales declining, Unisys officials began to migrate the company's ClearPath systems—such as the Dorado and Libra servers—off of the CMOS processor and onto the x86 architecture from Intel, which over the years has put more high-end features into its Xeon server chips.
Unisys has since completed the move to the x86 architecture, and offers a broad range of ClearPath Forward systems that are powered by Intel chips.
"Virtualizing the MCP environment is a major advance that brings us closer to our ultimate goal of making ClearPath Forward a linchpin in our clients' software-defined data centers," Tarek El-Sadany, senior vice president of technology and CTO of Unisys, said in a statement. "We remain committed to giving our ClearPath Forward clients the means to build a modern, cost-efficient hybrid IT environment flexible enough to meet their evolving challenges while building on their long-term investment in the ClearPath Forward applications that run their businesses."
The ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 operating environments are tightly integrated stacks of more than 100 software offerings that address such computing areas as memory usage and high-volume transaction processing to caching and memory usage, officials said. The platform-independent ClearPath MCP, which is available now, comes in two versions for entry-level production environments. The first, ClearPath MCP Bronze, is available through concurrent user-based licensing and can host a general-purpose workload that includes production work, application development and testing, officials said.
ClearPath MCP Silver offers capacity-based licensing determined by the maximum number of MCP central processing modules that are available for activation, they said. Licenses are available for different workloads, from general-purpose to Unisys' Agile Business Suite model-driven development environment. There also are choices for business continuity and disaster recovery.