Unisys pushes Windows NT into enterprise market

Unisys Corp. next week will unveil high-end servers that aim to push Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT operating system into the realm of enterprise computing.

The company will debut its Aquanta Enterprise Series with three models: the XR/6 which Unisys claims to be the first Windows NT platform scalable to 10 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors the HS/6 a server running up to six 200 MHz Pentium Pro chips and the HR/6 a rack-mountable version of the HS/6.

Unisys' aim with the products is to bring mainframe-class scalability availability and manageability to a Windows NT server bringing "NT up to enterprise attributes " said Mary Chin vice president of marketing operations for Unisys' Open Business Systems.

Industry observers said the new machines could appeal to federal users who have outgrown two-way or four-way PC servers. And Unisys' Windows NT product push dovetails with Unisys' federal contracts portfolio which includes several pacts involving Windows NT. Those include the Social Security Administration's Intelligent Workstations/Local-Area Networks and the Coast Guard's Standard Workstation III.

"They are following the dictates of the marketplace " noted Jerry Sheridan director and principal analyst with Dataquest's Client/Server Computing Group. "People who employ the Intel and NT model have been looking for ways to improve performance and provide greater scalability and manageability." He added that Unisys' XR/6 is the only 10-way Windows NT machine of which he is aware.

Hardware vendors have launched two-processor and four-processor Windows NT servers but vendors have only recently begun to scale beyond those machines. The difficulty has been in overcoming the logical limitations of Pentium Pro chips which limit the number of chips in a system to four.

But vendors have begun to introduce new bus architectures that allow a greater number of processors to be employed. Advanced Logic Research Inc. earlier this year announced a six-way Pentium Pro/Windows NT server. And a few other vendors have announced eight-way bus designs Sheridan noted.

Unisys' Aquanta XR/6 features the company's 64-bit 533 megabit/sec SCM bus. The server offers a hot-pluggable disk subsystem and hot-pluggable power and cooling systems as standard features. The product can run UnixWare and Unisys' SVR4 MP Unix as well as Windows NT. The XR/6 is slated for availability in June. Prices range from $62 730 for a two-processor configuration to more than $100 000 for a 10-processor configuration.

The six-way Aquanta HS/6 and HR/6 models which were built in conjunction with Advanced Logic Research Inc. provide system and CPU fail-over and redundant hot-pluggable components. The products will run Windows NT UnixWare and Novell Inc.'s NetWare. Prices start at $15 160 for the HS/6 which will be commercially available at the time of the announcement. The HR/6 starts at $16 260 and is set to ship in mid-May.

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