Unisys Moving Deeper into Services, Software

A management suite and more service offerings signal a change for the company that had previously focused on hardware.

Unisys, which has been mainly regarded as a hardware company that produces its own line of x86 servers and mainframes, is moving away from boxes and into software and services for its customers.

As part of its new business model, the Blue Bell, Pa., company is rolling out a new management software suite - Unisys Infrastructure Management Suite - as well as offering new services based on its own expertise in the data center. In keeping with its hardware legacy, the company also plans to unveil a new blade server and offer updates to its midrange line of systems as well.

All of these changes fall under what Rich Marcello, the president of Unisys Systems and Technology, calls Real Time Infrastructure. Marcello explained that instead of looking at individual pieces within the data center, Unisys' RTI strategy looks to focus on a pool of resources and how those resources should be used to meet the needs of enterprise at any given time.

Unlike other vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and its Adaptive Infrastructure program that offers similar management software and services, Unisys looks to remain neutral in regards to the operating system used as well as the platform and architecture. Marcello said that in addition to its own software, Unisys will choose other products from different vendors that best fit customers' needs.

"We are basically moving away from a hardware-centric company," Marcello said, "to a more solution-centric company that is focused on...what the hardware can do underneath all that."

For example, when it comes to virtualization - a technology that has swept through the industry in the last few years - Marcello believes that many companies are unsure of how it brings the benefits into the full data center. With the services that Unisys is offering, Marcello believes that the company's engineers will be able to repurpose the hardware for virtualization much more efficiently, while the Virtual Orchestration part of the management suite will provide provisioning and management tools for the IT staff.

In addition to virtualization, the Unisys management suite is offering tools for disaster recovery, test and development automation and data center migration, among other benefits.