The company hopes its Orion and Aries products will make inroads into the Unix-controlled high-end server market and convince companies to consolidate their server rooms with the new machines.
The ES7000 Aries 130 and the ES7000 Orion 130 will come with either 900MHz or 1GHz Itanium 2 processors and up to 64Gbytes of memory. Users may also opt for the ES7000 Aries 230 or ES7000 Orion 230 with Intel's Xeon MP processors, at either 1.4GHz or 1.6GHz.
Computers featuring Microsoft's Windows operating system and Intel's processors dominate the desktop and low-end server markets, Mark Feverston, vice-president of enterprise server marketing at Unisys, said. However, RISC chips running flavours of the Unix operating system from Sun Microsystems and IBM have long controlled the high end of the server market where the more lucrative installations lie, he said.
"The Orion series will challenge the traditionally proprietary Unix or low-end mainframe market, while the Aries will be going up against lower-end Unix systems, like the Sun [Sun Fire] 6800," Feverston said.
Also, companies with a lot of servers are looking to consolidate their data into a few large machines, he said. Disaster recovery plans are difficult to implement in an environment with a high number of servers and the potential for a security breach increases with each server, he said.
The Orion line offers high performance and scalability for a cheaper price than similar Unix systems, Unisys said. Up to 32 Itanium or Xeon processors, which can be split into two independent 16-processor domains, can be included with the Orion series. Prices will range from $140,000 (£89,050) to $700,000, (£445,258) depending on the configuration.
The Aries line will be marketed as an entry-level step to high-performance computing. It features up to 16 Itanium 2 or Xeon MP processors, and will cost between $75,000 (£47,705) and $300,000 (£190,820) depending on the configuration.
All four servers will come with Microsoft's Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, which can be upgraded to Windows .net Server when that comes out later this year. The availability of the Itanium servers will be delayed until September to be closer to the release date of .bet Server, Feverston said. The Xeon servers are available now.
Meanwhile Hewlett-Packard has also introduced servers with the Itanium 2 processor, while Dell Computer has said it will wait and see how the market reacts to the new chip before making any hardware plans for it.