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Unisys Intros Its High Speed Fabric-Based Server Platform

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Unisys introduced the Forward! platform in early October at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 and this week the company announced the fabric-based enterprise computing platform is available for delivery.

Unisys' Forward! is initially targeting customers who want to migrate away from higher cost proprietary UNIX based platforms and those who want to beef up their security and reduce their data center costs through consolidation. Unisys estimates that the Forward! platform could reduce capital expenses by up to 60 percent and reduce the total cost of ownership by up to 40 percent over competitive UNIX systems. Unisys also estimates that a business can reduce up to 70 percent of its physical servers and reduce software licensing and maintenance costs up to 70 percent for Linux and Windows based environments.

Unisys has been running hardware on Intel technology for some time but Forward! is considered a new platform because this particular Unisys-Intel blend will let companies host Linux, Windows, and migrated UNIX workloads on the same platform.

The platform also adds a newly introduced Unisys fabric architecture to keep pace with the higher demands of a virtualized environment and consolidated storage requirements. A Unisys whitepaper, states the Forward! platform "is a fabric-based infrastructure, in which Unisys Intel X86 Xeon-based servers are physically interlinked by high-speed network technology such as InfiniBand and G-Bit Ethernet." Making the connection through high-speed InfiniBand nodes will reduce latency and enhance failover capabilities.

Forward!, developed in partnership with Intel, has its roots in the Unisys mainframe line, ClearPath, and combines Unisys s-Par secure partitioning virtualization technology with Intel Xeon processor-based servers. "The Forward! platform uses Unisys' advanced secure partitioning (s-Par) software technology to create a secure 'container' of dedicated resources for each application workload," according to Unisys.

A product Unisys is not including in the Forward! package is their Stealth cyber security solution. However, Unisys indicated that clients could choose to integrate Stealth into the Forward! fabric as an additional cyber-security solution.

About the Author

Bill Oliver has been working in Healthcare for the past 30+ years in a variety of management roles including Material Management, Purchasing, Nurse Registry, and IT. In the past 12 years his focus has been on the business end of IT Contracts, Software Licensing and Purchasing.

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Unisys appears to be moving in the right direction. However, the company has not had a positive financial showing in many years, which includes their recent $11.6 million third-quarter loss. Unisys revenue history is strongly tied to providing services rather than product sales. Unisys is now moving into a cloud and virtualization market that, while not dominated by any single vendor, has a number of strong contenders that include IBM and HP. While the Forward! platform brings some solid technologies to the marketplace, only time will tell if it's enough to pull Unisys out of its sluggish downward spiral and make the name Forward! prophetic.

The ClearPath Master Control Program (MCP) is the ClearPath operating environment for ClearPath servers. Earlier this year, Unisys upgraded its ClearPath MCP options to include secure mobile access through ePortal for Apple, Android, BlackBerry, and Microsoft OS based devices and added additional security and administration features to reduce risk and provide a single point of control for managing multi-system environments. For the developers, Unisys added support for the latest version of Java SE7 and JBoss middleware in Unisys ClearPath's specialty partition for Java applications called JProcessor.

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