Unisys president touts latest servers

Unisys this week introduced the ES7000/500, a new variation of its Intel-based server line, which aims to lower the cost of entry...

Unisys this week introduced the ES7000/500, the latest variation of its Intel-based server line, which aims to lower the cost of entry for building Windows 2003 installations with Unix levels of scaleability.

The server begins with a four-way processor and a modular design that allows end users to install it themselves. It scales up to 32 processors and is cheaper than the ES7000, Unisys' high-end server, which begins with an eight-way processor.

Among the buyers Unisys is hoping to woo are those that may be looking at clusters. George Gazerwitz, president of Unisys Systems and Technology, explained the company's approach.

Dell and other Intel-systems suppliers, are pushing clusters as the enterprise solution. Why should an end user consider your system over that approach?

From a performance standpoint, you are going to get better performance, especially when you have demanding applications that drive large databases or transactions.

There is less latency because there are fewer connections and wires. From a management standpoint, a single-image system is a more efficient to manage and to protect from security infringements.

Where do you see your growth coming from? Is it migration off Unix systems?

Several of our customers are standardised on the Microsoft environment. It makes sense because there are significant cost savings. There are many companies looking to standardise because they can't afford the cost of managing this more complex, heterogeneous scale-down environment.

A lot of customers are looking to consolidate. So that's a big marketplace. Everybody is looking to reduce cost, simplify their environments, simplify their training, less space, less utilities and put it all together in one.

You are heavily aligned with Microsoft. There are fears among some enterprise managers that standardising on Microsoft throughout the enterprise potentially makes them vulnerable to one supplier. Is this a fear you are going to have to deal with?

We got a great partnership (with Microsoft) and it's continued to grow and mature over the past four to five years.

Are we concerned about it being a single environment? It all comes down to the amount of value that they can continue to add. There's a lot to be said about having a standard environment, and there's a lot to be said about all the applications and solutions that are available to run on that (Microsoft) environment. I don't think Microsoft is stupid; I don't think they are going to put themselves in front of another antitrust case. I think they operate very fairly.

What market segment are you targeting with your new line?

We're still focused on the same markets that we've always been focused on, and that's at the high end at the enterprise level. This new product series allows us to get down a little bit lower, to the mid-tier, and offer the same mainframe attributes at a cost that is competitive with commodity offerings in that market.

How important is the modular design?

We tried to simplify the installation. The customer now needs fewer qualified people to get the same benefits. And, if they want to add to it, all they have to do is bring another one in, put it together and plug it in. It makes it simpler to operate, less cost for the customer, easier, less training for their people, and there is a lot of software built into it to manage the system.

Is Unix a shrinking niche market?

I don't think Unix is going to go away. It will shrink a little bit. I think the biggest hit on Unix will probably be with Linux at the low end at the desktop and web applications. The impact on Unix at the higher end is going to be the result of Microsoft and the environment that we're talking about here.

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