Unisys, Down but Not Out

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Mar 13, 2009


A casual glance at the server sales announcements by Gartner or IDC wouldn't tell you too much about Unisys other than their being one of the many left to eat the scraps (about 10 percent of the pie) left by HP, IBM, Dell, Sun and Fujitsu. But Unisys doesn't play the mass server market so you have to look deeper.

Server Snapshot: You may not hear much about Unisys, but don't rule out this venerable systems vendor without checking out what it has to offer.

"Unisys is a market leader in Windows enterprise servers segment for servers greater than $100,000 with approximately 33 percent market share," said Rod Sapp, marketing director for enterprise servers at Unisys (Blue Bell, Penn.).

Unisys does, however, provide a broader portfolio of enterprise servers than before. As well as the Windows megaboxes it is famous for, it now offers racks as well as high-density blades. Server blades, as well as the new processors on offer probably represent the biggest news since our last Unisys snapshot over a year ago.

On the processor front, Unisys recently adopted Intel 6-core Xeon processors for its ES7000 systems. The ES7000 Model 7600R, in particular, has scored very high on the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-H benchmark that tests database performance. The Unisys system delivered 26 percent better performance and more than 50 percent lower price/performance than a comparable HP Integrity Superdome server based on the Intel Itanium processor.

"The Intel 6-core processors provide performance, scalability and RAS that position Xeon servers in the space previously occupied by Itanium and RISC systems — and they do so at substantially lower cost," said Sapp. "Client response has been very positive."

In addition, Unisys introduced the first servers with AMD processors. The ES7000 Model 7405R is the first Unisys server based on the AMD Opteron Processor (Quad Core AMD Opteron 8356).

"Unisys ES7000 Enterprise Servers are market share leaders for the enterprise server product segment, hold the industry's best benchmark results and play a critical role in the IT infrastructures for many of the world's most recognized companies," said Sapp.

Blades

The Unisys ES5000 Blade server was designed to reduce server sprawl and maximize efficiency.


Alt text
Unisys ClearPath
Dorado 700 Series
high-end mainframe

"Compared to rack server deployments, Unisys ES5000 high density blade servers can cut acquisition costs by 35 percent, reduce facilities costs by an estimated 25 percent and lower annual IT operating expenses by 15 percent," said Sapp.

The ES5000 line comes with Unisys Infrastructure Management Suite, which automates infrastructure response to changes in business processes, and uAdapt Blade Edition software for virtualization.

"uAdapt Blade Edition can automatically change the profile of a blade server to address a specific application requirement while providing the correct network and storage connections, repurposing resources as necessary to address escalating demand and failover needs," said Sapp.

Midrange Servers

On the midrange side, Unisys made a few upgrades while also adding a new model to the family. The newest model is the ES3215L, a two-socket 4-core server using Intel Xeon processors. In addition, the company upgraded its ES3220, ES3220L and ES3420L servers to the latest 4-core Intel Xeon processors.

The ES3000 line is suited for high density markets seeking enterprise capabilities and support, as well as virtualization. In bids, it mainly goes up against HP, according to Sapp. He said that Unisys ES3000 systems are comparable with HP in price and features. Differentiation is at the solutions and services level.

"The ES3000 systems can host Unisys Consolidated Desktop Solution, which enables desktop infrastructures to be consolidated, virtualized and hosted on centralized servers and storage systems," said Sapp. "These systems can also host Unisys Consolidated Solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, which remedies underutilized e-mail environments, using consolidation technologies to enable a higher density of mailboxes per server."

ClearPath Mainframe-Class Servers

The latest versions of the Unisys mainframe are the ClearPath Dorado 700 series, ClearPath Dorado 4000 series and Libra 4000 Series. The 700 series is the most powerful system to run the Unisys OS 2200 operating environment. It delivers improvements of 200 percent in I/O performance and nearly 20 percent in processor performance over the previous Dorado 300 Series models.

The system supports up to 32 processors. This can be partitioned into one to eight independent hard partitions, each supporting its own operating environment. Up to four fully configured Dorado systems — 128 total processors — can be clustered together through a Unisys XPC-L (eXtended Processor Complex) record lock processor for added capacity and resiliency.

The Dorado 4000 Series and Libra 4000 Series are architecturally similar at the hardware level. Both run the Unisys OS 2200 and MCP operating environments. They are based on 4-core Intel Xeon 7350 x64 processors.

"These new models are available with single-purpose specialty engines - integrated processors that increase price/performance by offloading tasks from the central system," said Bill Maclean, vice president of ClearPath programs at Unisys. "Both the Dorado 4000 and Libra 4000 systems can use a cryptographic co-processor for encrypting sensitive data. The Libra 4000 can use a JProcessor, which accelerates Java performance, and the ClearPath ePortal, which provides transparent web services and support for mobile devices."

Unisys' Servers, At a Glance

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Server Family
Target Deployment
Processor Types
Processor Range
Operating Systems
Servers
Price
ES7000 Model 7600R ES7000 Model 7600R servers focus on higher-end computing needs, delivering high levels of scalability, performance and reliability. 6-core and 4 core Intel Xeon processor 7400 series. 4 to 16 sockets for a total of 96 Cores Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard Editions (x64); Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard Editions ( x86 and x64); Select configurations validated by the Microsoft High Availability Program, the Failover Cluster Configuration Program and the Server Virtualization Validation Program; Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform 5.2 (x64); SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2 (x64); VMware ESX 3.5 (update 2) ES7000 Model 7600R Configurations start at $26,430
ES7000 Model 7405R The ES7000 Model 7405R server features technology to improve memory management for virtual machines and optimize performance. Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor 8300 series 4-8 Sockets for a total of 32 cores Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard Editions, (x86 and x64); Red Hat Enterprise Linux: 4.6, 5.1 (x64); SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1(x64); VMware ESX 3.0.3 and 3.5 (update 1); Solaris 10 OS on x64 ES7000 Model 7405R Configurations start at $21,000
ES5000 Blade Servers ES5000 blade servers deliver energy efficiency, flexibility, and high density. Intel Xeon 5400, 5300, 5200 & 5100 Series processors 2 Sockets per blade for a total of 8 cores Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard Editions (x86 and x64); Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise and Standard Editions; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5; SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and 10; VMware ESX 3.0 and 3.1 ES5000 Model 5300 Configurations start at $12,500
ES3000 Midrange Servers The ES3000 family is a midrange line of rack-mount servers delivering performance, availability, and energy efficiency. Intel Xeon dual core, 4-Core or 6-Core processors depending upon model 2 to 4 sockets Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, Enterprise and Standard Editions, (x86 and x64), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise and Standard Editions (x86 and x64), SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (x64); Red Hat Enterprise Linux ; VMware ESX Server 3.x ES3215
ES3220
ES3240L
ES3220L
Xeon configurations start at $2,343
ClearPath Dorado Series ClearPath Dorado Series servers are good for Java/J2EE and real-time applications. Dorado systems offer high volume transaction processing, security and high service levels. Standard pricing models (fixed performance over time, typically 5 years) or pay-for-use models are available. Primary solutions span banking, transportation (airlines), government and commercial, with a focus on mission-critical applications Xeon multi-core processors for the Dorado 4000 series or Unisys proprietary CMOS ASIC instruction processors for the Dorado 780/790 series Dorado 780/790 - 4 to 32 processors; for the largest systems, up to 32 processors in a single image or up to eight partitions of 4 processors in each partition; total quantity of processors varies by model; Dorado 4050, 4080, 4090 contain (4) Intel Xeon X64 4-core processors OS 2200 Unisys proprietary operating system for native system; Intel-based modules can be added to support Microsoft Windows and Linux operating system environments; 4080
4090
780
790
Cost varies by configuration
ClearPath Libra Series Libra systems span a broad performance range, and are used in transaction processing and messaging environments. Traditional performance based and Pay-For Use business models are supported. Primary solutions span banking, telephony (messaging), government and commercial, with a focus on mission-critical applications. Xeon milti-core processors Libra 400 and 4000 series or Unisys proprietary CMOS ASIC instruction processors for the Libra 680 / 690 series Libra 680/690 can support up to (16) CMOS processors; Up to four MCP CMOS images (independent partitions) per cabinet ; Libra 400 and 4000 supports up to (4) Intel Xeon X-64 quad core processors ClearPath MCP; Virtual Machine for ClearPath MCP (MCPvm); Microsoft Windows Server 2003; Enterprise Edition; Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition; Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES 9); Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (RHEL 4) 690
680
4080
4090
400
Cost varies by configuration