Unisys Rolls Out More Intel-Based ClearPath Mainframes

The new Libra and Dorado systems are part of Unisys’ efforts to migrate its mainframes onto Intel’s Xeon processor platform.

Unisys is continuing to move its mainframe server line from its proprietary CMOS processors to Intel’s high-end Xeon processors, unveiling three new ClearPath series systems that will be powered by multiple Xeon E5-2600 chips.

Unisys officials on Oct. 10 announced the high-end ClearPath Libra 6200 Series of mainframes, the midrange Libra 4200 Series, and entry-level and midrange Dorado 4200 Series. Coupled with the company’s own s-Par virtualization technology, Unisys officials said the new Intel-based systems offer high-end mainframe performance equal to those based on proprietary architectures, such as IBM and its System z mainframes.

“Our new ClearPath systems represent the most dramatic proof yet of Unisys’ commitment to provide an increasingly powerful, open environment to meet our clients’ rapidly evolving enterprise application requirements,” Bill Maclean, vice president of ClearPath portfolio management at Unisys, said in a statement. “We will continue integrating new technologies that enhance ClearPath systems’ unmatched power, security, reliability and availability to help our clients build on their long-term investment in mission-critical business applications.”

Unisys officials have been talking about moving its mainframe systems onto Intel technology for about a decade, first looking to embrace the Itanium platform and later—as performance and scalability capabilities of Xeon grew—turning to that x86-based chip family. The latest systems will run on Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 processors, which were released earlier this year and offer up to eight cores per chip, improved performance and better energy efficiency than its predecessors.

Moving the ClearPath mainframe systems onto Intel’s processor platform enables users to continue running mission-critical applications, make application modernization efforts easier and reduce overall computing costs. It also enables enterprises to stay in step with the evolving data centers, which are a demanding greater system performance with reduced power consumption.

Unisys’ ClearPath Libra systems run the MCP operating environment that includes the various software components needed to run an enterprise-class system. The new high-end Libra 6200 Series—which includes the 6280 and 6290 mainframes—offers full redundancy in a number of components, from processor and memory nodes to I/O subsystems and parallel operations servers, designed to ensure high performance and availability, according to Unisys officials.

The systems’ performance is comparable to the company’s current Libra 700 Series systems, which are based on Unisys’ proprietary CMOS chip technology, and the new Libra 6200 mainframes offer almost four times the I/O performance. The new systems are aimed at mission-critical and transaction-intensive applications, as well as batch-processing workloads.

The midrange Libra 4200 Series—the 4280 and 4290—offers a 43 percent chip performance improvement over other Intel-based Libra systems, with I/O performance increase of between 40 (over CMOS-based systems) and 120 percent (over Intel-powered Libra servers), the company said.

The Dorado 4200 Series—the 4250, 4270, 4280 and 4290—runs the OS 2200 operating environment and includes a bundled specialty engine module using the s-Par technology. These systems feature a 33 percent performance increase over previous Intel-based Unisys systems, and a 233 percent increase over servers running the company’s proprietary processors.

The Dorados also offer high-availability and dual-partition options. With the high-availability option, the system includes a dual-processor-cell and I/O subsystem complex, which offer failover protection. One or both cells can be used for production or backup, and can switch roles as needed. In the dual-partition option, both cells can be used for production, with workloads split between the two of them.

In their basic configurations, pricing for the systems ranges from $325,000 for the Dorado 4200 Series to $1.3 million for the Libra 6200 Series.