Apple iPhone, Touch Gets Mainframe App


Mainframe users are now able to use their heavyweight applications on one of the most unlikely of devices, namely the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch

Unisys has joined the growing number of vendors offering mobile apps, after it extended the reach of its mainframe applications to the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

The two Apple devices are only the first platforms that will be supported by Unisys, which will grow the number of smartphones that will be able to run its mainframe applications, according to Bill Maclean, vice president of Unisys’s ClearPath portfolio management business.

“We want the iPhone to interact with the [mainframe] applications without having to impact the applications at all,” Maclean said in an interview.

The smartphone support was one of several announcements that Unisys made 22 March around its ClearPath server line.

In addition, Unisys is unveiling greater security around mobile devices, new support for the open-source PHP scripting language and a new addition to the ClearPath family of mainframes. The ClearPath Libra Model 750, powered by Unisys’ proprietary CMOS processor, gives mid-range companies a new option in the vendor’s lineup.

The iPhone and iPod Touch support comes through Unisys’ Release 12.0 of the ClearPath MCP software, including enhancements to the company’s ClearPath ePortal Specialty Engine. The co-processor was designed to help IT administrators manage web services and mobile device access to the mainframe.

Among the new capabilities are dynamic application support to enable mainframe applications to adapt to the smartphone environment, Maclean said.

“Unlike notebooks, users of smartphones log on and off all the time, and all night,” Maclean said.

Also, MCP, Unisys’ proprietary operating system, better supports hybrid applications, which means smartphone users get a single, graphical view of data from any number of ClearPath transaction sources, and IT administrators can more easily view and manage the systems remotely.

Unisys also is considering an optional helpdesk service.

Security upgrades to MCP include data encryption, and support for Locum Software Services’ Locum RealTime Monitor – giving IT administrators the ability to more quickly react to security violations.

The MCP OS also now supports PHP, so that applications created using the open-source scripting language can now run on ClearPath mainframes.

The new ClearPath Libra Model 750 is aimed at medium to large enterprises that require high availability. In addition, like other ClearPath systems, the new mainframe offers metering, so that customers pay for only the processing power they use, Maclean said.

Pricing on the ClearPath Libra 750 start at $1.3 million (£858,000).

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