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Unisys Serves up Pre-Configured Database Bundles

Unisys Corp. on Monday introduced several pre-configured database bundles that it says will enable customers to rapidly deploy and support large database environments.

The new systems, which feature Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Datacenter Server hosted on Unisys’ Intel-based ES7000 servers, are also outfitted with SQL Server 2000 and matched with storage capacity from EMC Corp.

Unisys’ database bundles are available in eight-, 16- and 32-processor configurations. Microsoft offers its Windows 2000 Datacenter Server for use in systems outfitted with more than eight processors.

“It’s a complete packaged system that includes the [operating system], SQL Server database software, all of the hardware that you need, storage, backup hardware and software [from Veritas], as well as services,” says Tom Manter, director for Unisys’ database server program. “Basically, we have bundled three different sizes and we have identified workloads for each of these sized packages, and the customer merely identifies which workload is necessary for their particular operation and chooses that configuration.”

Manter says that the new packaged database bundles can support workloads of 7,000 to 27,000 users, as well as between 1 TB to 9 TB of storage. The goal, he indicates, is to provide customers with a complete database solution that can literally be rolled into place to support an existing workload. Unisys is making its bundles available in cluster-ready and stand-alone configurations.

“You can order the system and have it arrive clustered to support partitioning so that you have higher availability. Or you can order it standalone,” Manter says. Along with its new database bundles, Unisys will provide customers with a free workload-sizing tool designed to help them choose from among each of its three packaged database solutions.

“If for some reason a particular business has a different need than what we packaged, they can use this tool to input the workload requirement and come out with an optimized configuration. They can even play games with this optimizer tool to project growth over the next year,” Manter says.

Customers can also purchase additional capacity to augment Unisys’ packaged offerings, Manter explains. For example, an IT organization that uses the workload-sizing tool and determines that it will require 12 processors to support its anticipated workload can purchase an eight-way bundle from Unisys, and pay at the same time for four additional Intel Xeon MP chips. Unisys is also offering services ranging from design and planning to implementation to optimization to training.

Robert Schafer, a senior analyst with consultancy Meta Group, speculates that Unisys’ database bundles could be a success in new shops that are starting from scratch. “If you want to forklift in an entire environment, where you’ve got nothing, these might have some kind of attraction.”

At the same time, Schafer asks, “How many folks today are in that type of scenario?” Although he concedes that the allure of a rapid and pain-free database implementation is a compelling sales point, especially in large environments, Schafer points out that there are trade-offs associated with a bundling package of any kind. “The marketplace is very dynamic and you could argue that Unisys is responding to that. On the other hand, [a package solution] can be sometimes more trouble than a more measured approach in which [an IT organization] purchases everything separately.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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