Unisys Server Unites Xeon, Itanium

The server maker puts the focus on flexibility with enhanced backup and capacity-on-demand features that get ready for 64-bit computing.

Unisys is rolling out new products designed to add greater infrastructure flexibility and data protection to the data center, such as a new server that can simultaneously run on Itanium and Xeon chips.

The company on May 9 also is unveiling enhancements to the Real-Time Capacity of its servers, which enables users to turn on or off extra processors in their servers based on demand.

The goal of the these moves is to give customers a wider range of tools that enable their IT infrastructures to keep up with business demands, said Mark Feverston, vice president of ES7000 platforms for Unisys, in Blue Bell, Pa., describing the market for business compliance products as "almost insatiable."

The new addition to the SafeGuard family of business continuity products is an example, he said. In 2005, the company rolled out SafeGuard 30m, which offered automotive application failover and recovery within 30 minutes by rapidly accessing data from a remote backup site.

The new SafeGuard Duplex product offers similar backup capabilities, but without the 30-minute guarantee, Feverston said. Thus, companies can choose to back up less mission-critical data without paying for that feature.

SafeGuard Duplex provides backup for data from a range of computing platforms, from Linux, Windows and Unix systems from Hewlett-Packard and IBM, to storage systems from HP, IBM, EMC and Hitachi. The new product "allows businesses to replicate massive amounts of data in an efficient way from heterogeneous servers and storage [devices]," Feverston said.

Unisys new server and capacity-on-demand enhancements are also designed to increase the flexibility for users, he said. The ES7000/One, which supports both Linux and Windows, can now run on both Xeon and Itanium 2 processors from Intel, and—if running the same operating system—can do so simultaneously.

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The 3U (5.25-inch) four-socket server currently ships with the single-core "Madison" Itanium processor, but can be upgraded to the dual-core "Montecito" chip when it is released later in 2006. The system can be linked with other ES7000/One servers to scale to a 32-socket machine.

"The large customers all run Xeon and Itanium in their infrastructure," Feverston said. "What they all want is to standardize on fewer and fewer technologies."

DeniServ, a Unisys customer for four years, currently is putting an ES7000/One system into its production environment, said David Reneer, director of technical operations at the St. Louis company.

Reneer, whose company makes claims processing software for Delta Dental, said the new system will serve as an investment for the time when 64-bit computing becomes more commonplace. Currently, the Xeon processors—which can handle both 32- and 64-bit processing—enable the company to work in the current environment. Later, the Xeons and Itaniums will be able to handle the 64-bit applications.

"No one is doing anything in 64-bit right now," Reneer said. However, he said, when 64-bit computing warms up, "I dont want to have to [do a] forklift [change]. I want to be able to adapt quickly. I just want to be able to switch out processors, or use the processors we have in there."

DeniServ is smaller than its competitors, with 12 developers, which means, "We can be more nimble than they can be," he said. "Thats kind of why we were attracted to the ES70000/One."

With Unisys Real-Time Capacity capability—similar to offerings from IBM and Hewlett-Packard—users can buy systems with some inactive processors that can be turned on as needed. Until now, those could be bought in sets of four, with four active and four inactive. With the enhanced capabilities of the ES7000/One, customers can now buy those processors in increments of two, Feverston said.

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