Unisys enters the software-defined data center market with Intel-based Dorado systems

Unisys launches its long-awaited Dorado ClearPath 8300 Intel-based systems to enable its clients to enter the software-defined data center in a big way.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Last week Unisys announced its most powerful Dorado systems yet. Ten years in the making, Unisys has fully converted its Dorado system to Intel Xeon processors and introduced them as the 8300 ClearPath line. And ClearPath OS 2200 is a complete operating environment for ClearPath Servers that includes all of the software needed to operate a mission-critical Dorado server. The OS 2200 operating environment is fully integrated and tested together with all software and platforms to ensure the seamless operation you need for your business-critical core business applications and databases.

Unisys is vying for position within the so-called software-defined data center (SDDC) market that covers the everything as a service (XaaS) portfolio. The SDDC is a trend that focuses on software and services rather than on the hardware. Apparently focusing on the underlying hardware isn't cool anymore and is considered to be "old school". The driving forces behind this trend are automation, management simplification, and cost reduction for support.

This trend comes as no surprise to those of who've been in the IT business for a while. Virtualized everything and abstracted everything are the new buzz-terms floating about these days. No one really talks about the underlying hardware that supports it all. That's why it's important to understand the technology you're buying. It's not just software. And it's certainly not just services.

For those of you who don't realize it, Dorado systems are mainframe computers. It sounds a bit odd these days to talk about such technology, but for virtualization and service-oriented architecture solutions, it's still a relevant conversation.

Unisys offers software portfolio for ClearPath OS 2200 Servers that includes the following:

    • Application development tools
    • Open source development tools
    • Database, query and reporting tools
    • Middleware
    • System tools and utilities
    • Performance monitoring
    • Security
    • Communications and networking

      One of the current focuses of the ClearPath systems line is rapid deployment of distributed environments, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA) deployments. And the new systems can run applications written for earlier Intel and CMOS based Dorado systems without modification. Companies aren't ready to completely move off of what analysts and salespeople refer to as "legacy" systems so this backward compatibility might be more expensive in the short term, but it allows companies to migrate at a slower and at a less costly pace over the longer term.

      The new Dorado systems represent the culmination of Unisys' decade-long initiative to transition the entire ClearPath architecture from proprietary complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processor technology to a software-based fabric architecture running on Intel processors.

      The advanced, software-based fabric infrastructure of the ClearPath 8300 Series uses high-speed interconnect technology to link all computing resources and components. Unisys secure partitioning (s‑Par®) software manages all application workloads on the system. Each partition is a software-defined blade with dedicated processing, memory and input/output resources for each workload, eliminating resource contention and enabling fast, predictable application performance with exceptional security.

      It's critical to ensure security between virtual machines and between partitions. Mainframe computers, such as the OS 2200-based systems, are somewhat inherently secure and are architected with security as a central focus. However, since these partitions run inherently not-so-secure operating systems, the same cautions should be taken irrespective of the underlying hardware and software on which they reside.

      "The ClearPath architectural transition is both a singular achievement and a new beginning," said Jim Thompson, chief engineer, Unisys, who guided the 10-year evolution. "The Dorado 8300 Series and our other Intel-based ClearPath systems provide clients with an open, secure computing environment that maximizes their long-term investment in mission-critical software. Plus, by establishing the fabric infrastructure as the new core of ClearPath systems, we have laid the foundation for software-defined data centers that give our clients extraordinary flexibility to integrate new solutions as quickly as their business needs change."
      The Dorado 8300 will participate in clusters with earlier Intel-and-fabric-based Dorado models, as well as with even earlier Intel and CMOS-based Dorado systems, providing an enriched level of availability, efficiency and integrity in high-performance transaction processing that few systems can attain.

      The Dorado 8300 series servers are generally available on May 29, 2015.

      About Unisys

      ClearPath Fabric
      Unisys is a global information technology company that solves complex IT challenges at the intersection of modern and mission critical. Unisys works with many of the world's largest companies and government organizations to secure and keep their mission-critical operations running at peak performance; streamline and transform their data centers; enhance support to their end users and constituents; and modernize their enterprise applications. Unisys' offerings include outsourcing and managed services, systems integration and consulting services, high-end server technology, cybersecurity and cloud management software, and maintenance and support services. Unisys has more than 20,000 employees serving clients around the world. Unisys, perhaps the world's oldest technology company whose history dates back to 1873, developed the world's first commercially available digital computers, the BINAC and the UNIVAC.

      As a follow-up post, I'm going to go for a deeper dive into the secure partitioning (s-Par) software. Send any questions you want answered my way before I have that discussion and I'll use them in the interview.

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