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November 13, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

The draining two-incompatible-mainframe-lines legacy still hangs like a millstone around Unisys Corp’s neck as it tries to refocus itself as a client-server systems company equally at home with Unix and Windows NT. It has already got its A-series CPU down to a microprocessor, and today’s Unigram.X reports that the company is about to send into beta test a hybrid symmetric multiprocessing server that will run Unix, NT and its Series A and 2200 mainframe operating systems, connecting mainframe data via hardware and software to open systems. The server, a completely new architecture, sports Pentium Pros to run Unix and NT, and a new cross-system mainframe chip set claimed to integrate legacy applications with open systems front ends. The unnamed eight-way machine will be targeted at the sizable Unisys mainframe customer base and independent software vendors seeking to modernise applications. It’s due next spring from the Enterprise System Division. Admitting that it should have done this years ago to bring forward the bases it inherited from Sperry and Burroughs, Unisys says the technology gives customers a path from legacy systems. The new proprietary processor and the Pentium Pro are installed in one box, tightly integrated with a high-speed interconnect and the Unisys USoft subsidiary’s Tuxedo-based Online software, with hooks for Unix, NT, and IBM Corp and Unisys legacy systems. Online will enable users to access data anywhere on the machine transparently; a Unix or NT interface can access mainframe applications and databases. Eventually all the data can be moved to the client-server side. The mainframe side is brought to life by a new 0.5 micron CMOS chip set designed by Unisys and fabricated by IBM that supposedly solves the problem of integrating Unisys’ divergent A Series and 2200 Series – although two alternative chip sets seems more likely since A Series is 48-bit and 2200 is 36-bit, and very few users have both A-series and 2200 or would want both.

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