IBM, Unisys Deliver Mainframe Abilities to Standards-Based Servers

The companies introduce new systems that stress flexibility and manageability.

IBM and Unisys Corp. are each driving management and virtualization capabilities developed for mainframes further into standards-based systems designed for everyday enterprise use. The goal: to help users increase server flexibility and manageability while driving down costs.

IBM this week will unveil a pair of midrange i5 iSeries servers, which will feature the companys new Virtualization Engine software for enhanced management as well as new Power5 chips.

The one- or two-way 520 server and the four-way 570 server include on-demand, virtualization and partitioning features that enable users to do such things as turn processors or memory on and off as needed and partition processors. Workloads will be automatically balanced among processors, a feature previously available only in mainframe systems.

Virtualization Engine, unveiled last week, includes micropartitioning technology that lets users run as many as 10 virtual servers on a single processor. It also can virtualize networking, memory and LAN features, officials said. The engine also provides a single point of management for IBM and non-IBM systems. IBM plans to extend Virtualization Engine to all its servers.

With existing IBM virtualization technology, brokerage GHY International reduced its IBM servers from seven to two, an iSeries 820 and an iSeries 270, said Nigel Fortlage, vice president of IT. Both systems offer virtualized I/O and dynamic partitioning, enabling each server to do the work of multiple servers and to run multiple operating systems.

"Weve seen a 14 percent reduction in our operating budget," said Fortlage in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "We went from spending 95 percent of our time keeping the servers running to 5 percent."

For its part, Unisys is adding a system to its ES7000 lineup with the latest Intel Corp. Xeon processors and enhanced management capabilities through its Sentinel software. The ES7000/540, rolled out late last week, can scale to 32 processors, said officials of the Blue Bell, Pa., company. The modularity enables users to enlarge the system as business needs dictate, they said.

Enhanced Sentinel server management software not only automatically monitors and manages the health of the servers but also monitors administrators as they work on the systems and tells them the likely results of that work. Officials said this reduces the chance of human error.

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