Unisys unveils first AMD server, new virtualisation services

Unisys is releasing several virtualisation services and its first server based on AMD processors.

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Unisys was historically an Intel-only shop because Xeon processors are ideal for transaction-intensive database applications, says Colin Lacey, vice president of Unisys systems and storage.

Unisys decided to launch an AMD-based server as a result of the processor company's Rapid Virtualisation Indexing technology in quad-core Opteron processors. These chip enhancements allow virtual machines to more directly manage memory, thus improving performance of virtualised applications.

The result for Unisys is the new ES7000 Model 7405R, an eight-socket, quad-core server that can support 128 virtual machines.

While Unisys will continue to sell its numerous Intel-based servers, Lacey says, "We see an interesting intersect here with quad-core and [AMD's] Rapid Virtualisation Indexing." Pricing for the AMD-based server starts at US$21,000 and can go up to $50,000 or so depending on the configuration.

The Unisys virtualisation push began in February when the company said it would shift its servers and storage business from a hardware-centric approach to one that also emphasises services and virtualisation offerings. Unisys, which is attempting a multi-year effort to reverse poor financial results, also upgradedits Intel-based server line with quad-core processors and a new set of blade servers in February.

This week, Unisys coupled its AMD-based server announcement with new professional services for virtualised servers, storage and Windows desktops. They are:

  • 3D Blueprinting for Virtualisation. Utilising business and systems modeling software, Unisys says this service defines objectives for virtualisation, maps business goals to IT objectives and establishes an implementation strategy.
  • Virtualisation Operational Readiness Assessment. This is designed to give customers a full understanding of virtualisation's impact on the data center before deployment. "Using a workshop approach, clients can determine how they must change business and IT processes for virtualisation, identify gaps, prioritise areas for change and assess technology and people and process issues that can impact implementation," Unisys states.
  • Consolidated Desktop Solution. Using Microsoft technologies and a Unisys session broker, this service helps Windows shops host desktops on centralised servers and storage systems and give users access with thin clients.
  • Consolidated Solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. With this service, Unisys makes it easier to consolidate hardware devoted to Exchange. Customers often have hundreds of servers for the various Exchange applications, and need a system that can save energy and make sure all servers receive the right patches, says Mark Feverston, general manager of Microsoft solutions for Unisys. One European bank using this service took 40 servers handling 20,000 mailbox accounts and reduced them to just two servers, according to Unisys.
  • Unisys Storage Virtualisation. This service helps customers integrate storage into one virtualised pool that can be managed with a single interface. "The Storage Virtualisation solutions use Unisys assessment, implementation, management and support services, complemented by best-in-class storage virtualisation technology from select Unisys partners [such as EMC and Incipient]," Unisys says.