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Unisys Ships Server With Inactive, On-Demand Processors

One issue that IT buyers commonly face is buying enterprise-class servers that have more capacity than the company may need right off -- and having to pay the full freight for that unused processing power up front. Now, Unisys is looking to create a new market niche with a Windows/Linux server that ships more cheaply with some embedded processors turned off, plus a program that lets companies tap those on a temporary or full-time basis.

Unisys's ES7000 Real Time Capacity (RTC) server series, announced Wednesday, carries four inactive Xeon MP or Itanium 2 processors along with four, eight, or twelve active processors for use in Windows or Linux operating environments. Companies that buy a RTC server can turn on any of the inactive processors temporarily as many as four times to meet peak-demand situations, and can activate them permanently at an eventual cost no greater than a whole activated server would have been, said Mark Feverston, Unisys's director of platforms for Systems & Technology.

"We're looking to help companies with what we call their 'gambling' problem," said Feverston. "They have to buy for the peak of what they think they'll need, and they're rolling the dice that they'll have enough capacity. In practice, they can waste as much as 80 percent of their potential utilization. This lets them evaluate their needs more carefully and cut a third of their initial costs out of their purchase."

Once the ES7000 RTC is installed and provisioned, server administrators can activate the idle processors via the built-in management console; Unisys's Sentinel management software will then assign the processors, let the administrator choose an operating system, and bill the activation back to Unisys.

The temporary activation capabilities will be most useful for business that experience seasonal surges in server use, Feverston said. "Retailers should find this to be perfect for the holiday season, where they can use the temporary capacity in, say, 15-day blocks," he said. "Educational institutions at registration time would be another example." In such a situation, Feverston added, CIOs will benefit by being able to assign the added-processor costs to their operating budget instead of treating it as a capital outlay.

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