Unisys Rolls out Itanium 2-Based Servers

The two new ES7000 server lines are Unisys' first to feature Intel's 64-bit Itanium 2 processors.

Unisys Corp. this week announced two new ES7000 server lines, the Orion and Aries, that are its first to feature Intel Corp.s just-released 64-bit Itanium 2 processors.

Unisys, based in Blue Bell, Pa., is counting on Intels high-performance 1GHz Itanium 2 chips to help boost sales of its 32-way ES7000 server and draw shares away from 64-bit market leaders Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM.

The new ES7000 Orion 130 can be configured with up to 32 Itanium 2 chips in two independent domains of 16 processors each, making it the highest Itanium 2 configuration available on the market today. Unisys also offers a similarly configured Orion 230, which features Intels 32-bit Xeon processors.

The Orion, which offers fault-tolerant features such as component redundancies and multiple power domains, is targeted at running companies most business-critical applications that require high-availability.

The Orion 130 can be equipped with up to 64GB of memory per domain and offers 64 internal I/O slots. The Orion 230 also can handle up to 64GB of memory, but offers 96 I/O slots. Prices for the two models range between $140,000 and $700,000.

The new ES7000 Aries series is targeted at the high-end Intel-based and low-end Risc-based server space. The Aries can be configured to handle eight, 12 or 16 Intel processors. While less robust than the Orion, the Aries does also include fault-tolerant features, such as self-diagnosing software, and is certified to offer 99.9 percent availability.

The Aries 130 can be equipped with up to 16 Itanium 2 processors, 64GB of memory and offers 16 I/O slots. The Aries 230 can house up to 16 Xeon chips, 32GB of memory and 48 I/O slots. System prices range from $75,000 to $300,000.

Unisys is optimistic that the latest versions of its ES7000 server, first introduced in 1999, will attract corporate customers seeking to reduce IT costs, an issue thats become a top priority for many companies seeking to ride out the current economic downturn.

In particular, Unisys is hoping companies will migrate away from high-end Unix-based hardware offered by such rivals as Sun and IBM and switch to Microsoft- and Intel-based systems as a way to reduce expenses and streamline operations.

"Every large company has two or three versions of some proprietary Unix hardware and multiple operating systems," said Kevin McHugh, vice president of Unisys Platform Marketing. "But its becoming a financial burden to have skill sets around to support all those things."

By replacing those Unix systems with ES7000 servers, McHugh said, companies could extend the same architecture they likely use in their desktops and low-level servers—basically Windows-based applications and Intel-powered hardware—into their backend data center.

"Companies would rather have the same basic architecture and operating systems from handhelds and desktops through to the mainframe servers," McHugh said. "What were offering is the ability to finish off that visions. With the ES7000, they can simplify on Windows and Intel, and not have to sacrifice any functionality, scalability, performance or anything."

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