Unisys Jumping on Itanium 2 Bandwagon

Computer maker will release on Monday an upgraded version of its 32-way ES7000 featuring Intel's new chip.

Unisys Corp. will offer an upgraded version of its ES7000 featuring Intel Corp.s new Itanium 2 processor, the company announced today.

Introduced in 1999, the 32-way ES7000, priced from $100,000 to $1 million, was the first server of its size to feature Intel chips. Previously, Intel-based servers could only handle up to eight processors. The servers launch also marked a milestone for Microsoft Corp. as it provided the first large-scale server compatible with Windows software.

The upgraded ES7000 with Itanium 2 chips utilizes a customized version of Intels E8870 chip set that is capable of handling up to 16 processors in a single box.

Unisys is marketing the Itanium 2 system at enterprise customers looking to migrate from 32-bit to 64-bit applications, where they can leverage the processors ability to address vast amounts and memory and handle thousands of simultaneous transactions.

By concentrating migration efforts on the database through the adoption of an ES7000 with Microsofts SQL Server 2000, Unisys contends users can extend the value of their investments in existing 32-bit applications while gaining immediate price/performance boosts from the new processor.

"Unisys customers can stay ahead of the adoption curve by applying Itanium 2-based server power where its needed most—and where the effort is the least, at the database," said Kevin McHugh, vice president of product marketing for Unisys, in Blue Bell, Pa. "Migrating business solutions, the accumulation of years of investment, can then proceed at a pace the customer chooses without waiting to benefit from the new performance levels offered by this promising technology."

SQL Server 2000 is well-suited for migrating to 64 bits, Unisys said, since both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the software use the same code base, as well as the same on-disk database format. Those commonalities help reduce the complexity of the database administrators migration tasks.

In addition to being a database server, Unisys markets the system for use with data-warehouse, e-business and Web-hosting applications.