Unisys to offer services-led datacentres

Unisys has announced new servers and a suite of infrastructure management software Tuesday that are aimed at giving it a bigger role in customers' datacentres, where it faces direct competition from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

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Unisys has announced new servers and a suite of infrastructure management software Tuesday that are aimed at giving it a bigger role in customers' datacentres, where it faces direct competition from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

The new hardware includes Unisys' first blade servers, the ES5000 family, due next month, and new and upgraded ES3000 midrange servers based on quad-core Intel Xeon processors. The company has also refreshed and rebranded some datacentre management software that it launched early last year.

The products continue a turnaround strategy that Unisys began in 2005. A focus on high-end servers, outsourcing and systems integration had led to financial losses, and Unisys devised a restructuring plan to enter faster-growing markets including open-source software, security and infrastructure management.

The strategy leans heavily on partners. The blade servers will be supplied by a third party and re-badged with the Unisys brand, while the infrastructure software includes third-party products from Enigmatic and Scalent Systems.

The strategy is to lead with services offerings to help customers build what Unisys calls a "real-time infrastructure" - one where IT adapts quickly to business needs - and to supplement those the hardware and software products, said Rich Marcello, president of Unisys' systems and technology group.

"This isn't just a product sell. The real-time infrastructure is relatively complicated to implement so you need a services-led strategy," he said. "Many of our competitors will talk about doing RTI but what they are doing is trying to sell you a complete stack."

Unisys' product line-up does not greatly different from that of Sun, HP and others. But its strategy differs in that it aims to capture clients through consulting and service engagements and then bring in the products they need for a project, including gear from other vendors, said Jean Bozman, a research vice president with IDC.

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