Unisys Ramps Up E-Biz Plans, Tightens Microsoft Relationship



Microsoft wants a toehold in enterprise data centers. Unisys needs to jump-start its Windows services business and expand its E-business revenue. So the companies today unveiled servers and software development plans designed to advance those goals.

Unisys, a $7 billion former mainframe manufacturer whose bread and butter has become sales and services of Intel-based hardware running Windows NT, introduced "mainframe-class" Wintel servers, a development agreement with Microsoft to enhance performance of Windows 2000 DataCenter Server on Unisys hardware, and consulting practices aimed at companies doing business over the Web.

Unisys derives about 18% of revenue from such E-business sales; at a press conference in New York yesterday, chief executive Larry Weinbach said he wants half of the revenue to be Web-application-related within three years. During its most recent quarter, Unisys reported slower-than-expected growth in its Windows NT business, and vowed a more Web-oriented approach.

To that end, Unisys plans to begin shipping in the first quarter a new line of enterprise servers for high-end transaction processing and data warehousing, dubbed the E-action ES7000. The servers, priced starting at $100,000, can support as many as 32 of Intel's Pentium Xeon or upcoming Itanium 64-bit processors. Unisys has adapted some of its mainframe technology for memory access, input/output, and partitioning to these systems, enabling performance gains through an architecture it calls "Cellular Multiprocessing."

In addition, Microsoft and Intel will develop software for "dynamic partitioning," which would automatically allocate processing horsepower to applications based on demand or time of day, for example. The capability would be available for future versions of Windows 2000 DataCenter Server.

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