Long-time open source sceptic Unisys has bowed to Unix user demand and released two flavours of Linux on its Intel-based ES7000 enterprise server range previously dedicated to Windows.
The move is a bid to win over Unix/Risc customers reluctant to follow the Microsoft path but interested in deploying some Intel-based servers.
"Some Unix users are very reluctant to move to Windows but like Intel," Michael Hjalsted, Unisys EMEA marketing director for servers, told vnunet.com. "Linux is [also] starting to mature in the enterprise area, something we didn't think was true 12 months ago."
The ES7000 did in fact support SCO Linux until it was withdrawn early last year, but Unisys did not publicise the fact, remaining dedicated to marketing Windows.
Hjalsted said Windows would remain Unisys' main focus despite the increase in requests for Linux, particularly in the high-performance computing (HPC) area, and that the company had no plans to add a Linux option to its low-end ES3000 series.
Unisys has also added dynamic partitioning to automatically allocate processing power to multiple separate Linux applications as demand varies, a feature long available on Unix but not Linux.
"It's extra work but probably necessary for Unisys. People want choice and you have to go with the market," Rob Hailstone, IDC's software infrastructure research director, told vnunet.com.
Hailstone added that Unisys had made a definite commitment to technology for grid computing, and dynamic partitioning would help facilitate grid technology usage.
The systems are able to run Linux, Windows or any mix of partitions. Unisys will offer direct support and services.
Hjalsted said Unisys' former connection through the SCO Group with the UnitedLinux consortium had led it to choose fellow consortium-member SuSE's Linux for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Red Hat Linux will also be offered, but at the moment only on 32-bit.
Unisys sells almost entirely direct, although its products are resold in Europe by Dell. But with HPC being new territory for the company, Hjalsted said a partnership agreement might be necessary.
Additional software improvements include an upgrade of Unisys Server Sentinel to enable management of both Windows and Linux environments from a single screen.
Further enhancements to the Sentinel product are being developed, according to the company. These include Application Sentinel, Database Sentinel and Security Sentinel.
Unisys' ES7000 range supports Intel Xeon 32-bit and Itanium 64-bit processors, and currently scales from 4-way to 32-way.
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