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Unisys cozies closer to Intel, 'sunsets' proprietary processor

Software-defined fabric architectures claim another victim

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Unisys is hastening the retirement of its proprietary – and geriatric – mainframe processor, beginning with 12 new ClearPath systems based on Intel Xeon processors.

"Continuing the ongoing evolution of the ClearPath family to an open architecture based on Intel x86 processors," the company said in a statement, "the new models outperform predecessor ClearPath models based on CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) processors."

The new systems are based on what Unisys calls "an advanced fabric architecture" that "uses software for processes traditionally performed by hardware." Powered by Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors, the fabric can incorporate hardware, software, and networking into the Forward! by Unisys platform, announced last October, which enables secure partitions through Unisys' s-Par tech.

The systems announced Tuesday include six Dorado and six Libra servers. The Dorado systems run the ClearPath OS 2200 operating environment, and the Libra systems, ClearPath MCP. Through Forward!, however, Linux and Windows applications can be run in secure partitions.

"We have laid the foundation for clients to build a software-defined data center that gives them far greater power, flexibility and security for their mission-critical applications at much lower cost while continuing to build on their long-term investments in ClearPath technology," said Unisys VP of mission-critical servers and solutions Rob Cashman.

Basic configurations of the new systems are not impulse purchases, as you might expect for big iron this, well, big. The Dorado systems start at an entry level of $325,000 and range up to $2m. A low-end Libra starts at $900,000, and the top series – the Libra 8300 – starts at $5.6m.

A Unisys spokesman told the IDG News Service that the company's aging CMOS processors will be "sunsetted" from Libra servers by the end of this August, but that they will continue to be used in Dorado 880E and 890E mainframes until those boxes exit the Unisys line by the end of 2015.

The new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2–based ClearPath systems will become available on June 30. ®

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