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December 9, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:19pm

UNISYS TAKES THE WRAPS OFF “MAINFRAME CLASS” NT SYSTEMS

By CBR Staff Writer

Unisys Corp has been getting closer to Microsoft Corp recently following its giant services and support agreement back in October (CI No 3,280). But despite its new enthusiasm for services, the company hasn’t given up on hardware altogether, and now it has taken the wraps off its plans for mainframe class NT machines with up to 32 processors, which it hopes to launch next year. The company’s Computer Systems Group claims it will have the technology available to offer such systems three years ahead of analysts’ predictions. Full machines should be on the market by year-end. The systems, which have yet to be named, will use Intel’s 32-bit Deschutes processor (CI No 3,287) in their first iterations, followed by the 64-bit Merced chip once it becomes available some time in 1999. As well as NT, the systems will be capable of running Unix and Unisys proprietary operating systems. Unisys aims to provide a highly scalable NT system with non-stop availability, despite the prevailing wisdom that NT doesn’t scale and isn’t that reliable. When the new systems, which are based on an architecture that Unisys calls Cellular Multiprocessing, are up to speed, they will be able to scale up to 32 processors. Unisys spokesman Oliver Pitcher describes the box as an evolutionary step in its existing Aquanta Enterprise Servers product line. The first tools for bringing NT up to industrial strength will appear under the name ServerPlus in the first half of 1998, and will include clustering software capable of supporting two to 16 Aquanta server nodes with up to ten CPUs each, and databases over 4Tb in size. Later in the year, technology Unisys calls ServerPlus Cellular Multi-Processing will extend this to support 32 processor shared memory system configurations with dynamic partitioning. Other technology to be used for the servers includes I20-compliant Enterprise I/O, due in the second half of next year, ICEPlus electronic commerce software and IntegratePlus middleware, also due in the second half, for integrating NT with legacy applications, transaction processing and object request brokers. The boxes will be pitched at existing Unisys customers, but the company also intends to move away from the traditional base with the help of its channel partners. Unisys has signed up a series of partners from whom it will take components and combine them with its own products for the boxes. Aside from Microsoft and Intel, they include Oracle Corp, Tandem Computers Inc, BEA Systems Inc, Computer Associates International Inc and Information Builders Inc. Oracle is providing Unisys with the database and financial software for the box, while CA’s Unicenter TNG will be used as the systems management capability and Tandem will provide its ServerNet and clustering technology.

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