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Unisys Beefs Up Server Virtualisation

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Unisys is ramping up the virtualisation capabilities of its enterprise x86 servers by upgrading to Intel’s Nehalem EP processors and VMware’s latest version of its virtualisation platform

Unisys has announced that it is incorporating the Xeon 5500 series chips into its ES3000 rack systems and ES5000 blade servers, and will support the new VMware vSphere 4 platform in all of its line of enterprise servers.

The vendor announced this week that it is looking to help businesses grow their virtualisation environments as well as enhance their cloud computing management and deployment capabilities.

“It’s focused around doing virtualisation right,” said Rod Sapp, marketing director for Unisys’ enterprise servers. “We can help clients with their end-to-end deployment of virtualised environments.”

Sapp said Unisys can now help businesses with any type of virtualisation environment. Intel’s new Nehalem EP processors–which were announced on 30 March –not only help businesses improve performance and reduce costs, but also come with improved virtualisation capabilities, which Unisys wants to take advantage of in its rack and blade servers.

“This is very much a scale-out virtualisation [environment],” Sapp said.

Unisys joins a host of other system makers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Rackable Systems, who unveiled new servers based on the processor.

The new VMware vSphere platform—which also was announced on 21 April—lifts the ceiling on many of the scalability limits on the hypervisor, making it more of a scale-up play, he said. The new platform enables Unisys to offers customers the capability to run significantly more virtual machines on a single physical server, according to Sapp.

The new systems also help bridge the cost gap between scale-out and scale-up, he said. Previously, the cost per virtual machine was five times more in scale-out environments. With the new generation of servers, that cost difference has dropped to three times more for scale-out deployments. The cost savings in scale-up environments center around licensing, server management, and power and cooling.

Sapp said the new capabilities give Unisys a strong framework to help enterprises create virtualisation environments, from the hardware and software to services and best practices.

The new capabilities come at an opportune time for IT administrators, who—thanks in large part to the global recession—are being asked to improve service levels while reducing costs.

“There’s more pressure being put onto IT to start using virtualisation more to cut costs,” Sapp said.

The new rack and blade servers will be available starting April 28, he said. A 5U tower server with the new technologies will be available around July 30.