Unisys Updates Mainframe Line

ClearPath line gets refreshed with new models.

In April, Unisys Corp. announced three new ClearPath Plus mainframe models. The new mainframes—which include value-added niceties such as workload pricing, development discounts and storage-on-demand—are intended to refresh Unisys' ClearPath line.

"We're extending our announcement from last year [April 2001], when we announced plans to get all of the Unisys environments to the CMP architecture. So this refreshes the midrange environment to run on CMP," says Rodney Sapp, Unisys' director of ClearPath marketing.

The new ClearPath Plus mainframes range from the entry-level (the ClearPath Plus CS7201) to the mid-tier (the ClearPath Plus CS7402) to the high-end (the ClearPath Plus CS7802). Unisys top-of-the-line midrange entry, the ClearPath Plus CS7802, will support up to 32 mainframe processors, of either proprietary Unisys or of industry-standard Intel design.

Although IBM Corp. may seem to be the only mainframe game in town these days, Unisys says its new ClearPath Plus mainframes are well-equipped to compete with Big Blue in the midrange. According to Sapp, where IBM can offer customers a choice of either zOS or Linux co-existing on the same mainframe hardware, Unisys allows customers to deploy Unisys' MCP or OS2200 mainframe operating systems, Windows 2000 or UnixWare across logical partitions on a single ClearPath Plus mainframe. Unisys' mainframe operating systems can only run on the company's own proprietary processors, however.

"IBM is sort of positioned against the Linux mainframe, but we can run our Unisys OSes and consolidate Microsoft applications on the same platforms. We can also run UnixWare, too. You can have them all inter-mixed on the same hardware on different partitions," Sapp says.

Sapp concedes Unisys may also bring Linux support to its ClearPath Plus mainframes. "Right now, Linux will run within Open8, which is where UnixWare runs. We'll have it there in that sense, other than that we're still evaluating that market segment."

Unisys' ClearPath Plus mainframes can run a mix of Unisys' own proprietary microprocessors or Intel's Xeon and Itanium microprocessors. For the near term, Sapp says that the new ClearPath Plus systems will initially be configured for use with Intel's Pentium III Xeon chips, at speeds of 700 and 900MHz, and with Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor. At some point in the future, he notes, Unisys will switch to Intel's next-generation Pentium 4 Xeon MP ("Foster") chips as they become available.