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Unisys continues to move ClearPath mainframes to Intel architecture

Mark Fontecchio

Unisys Corp. has released new ClearPath Dorado and Libra servers, moving the Dorado to an Intel Corp.-based architecture and ramping up the Libra to quad-core processors.

The Dorado 300 line of servers and earlier models were built on Unisys' own CMOS-based

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processor. With its new models, the Dorado 420 and the Dorado 430, Unisys has made it clear that the future of its servers lie on Intel chip architecture. The company is also releasing its Libra 400 and basing it on the quad-core Intel Xeon processor. Earlier models of Libra servers were based on dual-core Intel processors. Here are the specifications:
  • Unisys Libra 400: Scaleable from 30 MIPS to 350 MIPS; one or two Intel Xeon quad-core processors; operating systems supported include Unisys ClearPath MCP, Unisys Virtual Machine for ClearPath MCP and Microsoft Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition; support for up to 48 GB of memory with 12 DIMM slots; and 2 PCI-X and 4 PCI-X Express I/O expansion slots. Full specs are available on the Unisys Libra 400 spec sheet, which is a .pdf file.
  • Unisys Dorado 420: Scaleable from about 90 MIPS to 400 MIPS; four Intel Xeon dual-core processors; Unisys OS 2200 operating system; 64-bit memory support; and the same I/O configuration as the Dorado 300 server line. Full specs are available on the Unisys Dorado 420 spec sheet.
  • Unisys Dorado 430: The same hardware as the Dorado 420, but it's a pay-per-use machine. The Dorado 430 has software that charges customers based on how much processing they use.
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Standard Unisys mainframe configurations start around $200,000, although there are starting points as low as $32,000, said Rod Sapp, a Unisys marketing director.

Since this is the first time the Dorado servers are running OS 2200 on Intel, Unisys had to do some work to get things right.

"It's a big step," Sapp said. "It would be like IBM trying to port MVS to Intel." The mapping is done by Unisys, which Sapp said is easy for users: He cited one customer who was able to get all of its OS 2200 applications that ran on CMOS up on Intel in two hours.

Sapp added that the new servers are aimed at existing customers who might need a hardware refresh soon.

Some Unisys users have already transferred from CMOS-based hardware to Intel. Marian Ritland, IT development and operations manager at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire said the school has been on the Unisys platform for about 30 years. Currently, the school is running the Libra 520, which is an earlier Libra server based on Intel architecture. Libra, like the Dorado now, has gone through the change from CMOS-based hardware to Intel. Ritland said their shop was worried about the move to the Intel platform, but that the 520 has "performed very well." The 520 runs the university's back-end applications, such as its financial aid and accounting systems.

"I think they've continued to do a good job at making their systems work with other environments," Ritland said, who is also the chairperson of the UNITE Unisys users group.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer.


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