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Unisys Cultivates Linux Relationships

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Oct 22, 2004


Unisys this week announced two new partnerships it hopes will demonstrate its commitment to Linux. Unisys this week announced two new partnerships it hopes will demonstrate its commitment to Linux.

The mainframe vendor has partnered with business intelligence vendor SAS to provide 64-bit BI solutions for Linux. According to Derek Rodner, Linux program manager for Enterprise Systems at Unisys, the deal is part of growing a Linux ecosystem that will provide the services and support enterprises need.

"Working with SAS to develop the 64-bit BI solution, we're really trying to create that ecosystem," Rodner told internetnews.com.

Unisys also announced it will be joining the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), the current home of Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

"We couldn't start to offer Linux and not add value to it at the same time," Rodner explained. "By joining the OSDL we have an opportunity to show our commitment to the Linux community and help set the direction of data center Linux moving forward and to provide those features that we've come to expect from the mainframes of old."

Beyond the OSDL, Unisys sees its role as furthering the capabilities of Linux for true enterprise computing with the two main enterprise Linux vendors themselves as well.

"We're currently working with both Red Hat and SUSE to develop functionality around the operating system to create a complete complement," Rodner said. "In the enterprise space, you need things like clustering technology, and you need to be integrated with high-end storage. We're working with them on the technical aspects to make sure those things are there."

This week's initiatives follow the company's announcement in August that it made its ES7000 line of 32- and 64-bit Intel servers available for Linux. The move to Linux for Unisys is about timing, in particular the availability of the Linux 2.6 kernel.

"The key factor of our interest in the Linux marketplace is really the adoption of the 2.6 kernel," Rodner said. "That kernel really has the enterprise class features that we feel are necessary to begin to offer Linux to our customers."

In Rodner's opinion, the current position of Linux in the enterprise is similar to the position Windows held when Unisys first started deploying that operating system.

"We started at a point where Windows was not yet really prevalent in the enterprise. There weren't really the scalable windows solutions," Rodner stated. "We feel that we're at the same point today where we're actually creating a market space for enterprise class Linux."

The market for Unisys Linux solutions is not intended to take from its existing offering, according to Rodner. Rather, the intention is to go after the Unix-RISC space (e.g., Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX) and take that market from them.

"I don't look at it as cannibalizing existing business, I look at it as cannibalizing others," Rodner said.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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