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Unisys intros new services, software and blade servers

Unisys Corp.'s new services, software and hardware focus on server infrastructure that can adapt to quickly changing business needs.

Unisys Corp. has announced new services and software from partner companies, including Scalent Systems Inc. and Enigmatec Corp. to assist IT in managing its changing infrastructure needs. The company also rolled out new blade server offerings on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

The new Infrastructure Management Suite of services and software marks a strategic redirection for Unisys, said Brian Daly, a spokesperson for the company. Though service has always been central to Unisys' business -- service generates some 87% of the company's revenue -- in recent years the company spent a lot of time on hardware development, and service became an afterthought, Daly said.

The services for Blue Bell, Pa.-based company now focuse on creating "real time infrastructure," which Unisys defines as an infrastructure that can adapt to changing business events, Daly said. When a cell phone company rolls out a new product, for example, it may suddenly need thousands of phones in a single day and that requires additional computing power. Unisys' software and services offerings are designed to help businesses adjust in the face of these fluctuating IT requirements.

Stronger service, greater business adaptability
Unisys' new Infrastructure Management Suite, includes the following features:
  • Virtual Orchestration, a service to manage virtual environments through automation.
  • Data Center Migration, a service to help clients create more efficient data centers or transition to new ones.
  • Disaster Recovery Automation and Repurposing, a service to help users rearrange IT infrastructure on a moment's notice for disaster recovery purposes.
  • The Test and Development Infrastructure Automation service helps IT repurpose infrastructure and use that infrastructure for multiple projects simultaneously.

These new services are designed to help IT manage heterogeneous virtual and physical environments. Using the Test and Development Infrastructure Automation service, for example, IT asset reconfigurations can take as little as three to five minutes, whereas previously it could have taken days. This means that between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., IT can run infrastructure for one development project, then reconfigure it and between 4 p.m. and midnight use the same infrastructure for another project . This enables companies to use IT assets more efficiently, reduce overall data center "footprint," reduce power and cooling requirements – all in the service of saving money, Daly said.

In support of the new Infrastructure Management Suite, Unisys offers middleware including uOrchestrate, which is based on software from London-based Enigmatec to automate IT business processes, like keeping service-level agreements within policy, and uChargeback software developed by Unisys to oversee and measure resource usage so costs can be charged back to the business responsible for those costs.

Another new product. Unisys uAdapt software, enables IT to repurpose server assets on demand and is based on software from Scalent Systems.

"Repurposing is a key component of the solution stack; it gives users the ability to change a server's personality based on conditions," said Al Bender, the vice president and general manager of real-time infrastructure at Unisys.

Later this year, Unisys plans to add governance products for IT compliance and new provisioning software.

In pulling together all aspects of provisioning and managing a virtualized computing environment -- one that includes inclusive of servers, storage, software and services -- Unisys' Infrastructure Management Suite should reduce the time normally required for IT to deploy a virtualized IT environment and lead to lower operational costs, said Jean Bozman, a research vice president for IDC's Enterprise Platforms Group.

"Reducing the learning curve needed to get virtualization projects done … is the central value proposition here," Bozman said.

Pricing for Unisys' software and services was not provided, because prices vary depending on the type of software, services and infrastructure.

Unisys rolls out new servers
Unisys has designed its new blade and midrange servers with efficiency in mind. The idea is to reduce computing resources, power consumption and associated costs, said Colin Lacey, vice president of systems and storage at Unisys.

The new ES5000 family of blade servers has flexible I/O configuration options and local and remote management interfaces. Computing resources can be added on demand to reduce idle resources and improve both power and cost efficiency, Unisys said.

Unisys has offered other blade servers under its ES3000 server line for midrange companies, but discontinued them because they "were tactical offerings to meet the special needs of a limited number of customers," Daly said.

"The new ES5000 family of blade servers that Unisys will offer in March 2008 [is] designed to address key requirements, such as performance, power efficiency and flexibility of I/O configuration, for a broader range of enterprise customers," Daly said.

This new blade server has high bandwidth [and] redundancy, is expandable, and allows for different network fabrics. The ES5000 can scale up to 16 blades and 32 processors. The ES7000 up to 32 processors in a single instance, said Lacy.

Unisys has also enhanced its ES3000 family of midrange servers. The new model, ES3215L, is a two-socket quad-core server based on an Intel Xeon processor. Unisys has also upgraded its existing ES3220, ES3220L and ES3420L servers to the latest quad-core Intel Xeon processors with Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT), which can optimize virtual machine performance on hardware. The new ES3000 models are available immediately.

ES5000 blade server configurations with hard drive and a LAN/SAN connectivity switch is priced from $17,500. For the ES3000, base configurations of model ES3215L with hard drive are priced from $3,000.

In the second quarter of 2008, Unisys also plans to expand its ES7000 family of high-end enterprise servers with a quad-core eight-processor server. Later in the year, Unisys plans to roll out its next generation of scalable ES7000 servers, the first development to exploit the Unisys/NEC alliance for server design and manufacture, which began in February 2006.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

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