Unisys delivers servers, storage to DISA centers

Unisys Corp. announced last week that its Federal Systems unit had won $165 million worth of contracts from the Defense Information Systems Agency to deliver mainframes and storage systems to the agency's consolidated megacenters.

DISA placed the orders for 24 Unisys ClearPath enterprise servers and 10 EMC 5700 Symmetrix disk storage subsystems through the National Institutes of Health's Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners contract earlier this summer. Unisys already has shipped 10 servers.

DISA is consolidating 16 data centers into six that support unclassified Defense Department functions, including finance, logistics and personnel. The new mainframes will replace aging Unisys systems operating in DISA's data centers.

"The first step in consolidating data centers is to move to fewer platforms. Second is modernizing the applications," said Joseph Santamaria, vice president and general manager of integrated government solutions at Unisys Federal Systems. "The difference between the [older] Unisys mainframes and these systems is that these will run both the proprietary mainframe [software] and Windows NT and/or Unix."

The benefit for DISA is that it will not necessarily have to migrate legacy applications to an open-system platform, Santamaria said. "Some applications are best-suited in their previous form and don't make sense to convert," he said. "You don't need different-flavor boxes to do different-flavor applications."

Support for both legacy and open systems on the same box is becoming more prevalent, said Bob Djurdjevic, president of Annex Research, Phoenix. "It's a trend that I noticed due to the inroads that NT has made in the corporate world," he said. "A company like Amdahl which has made its name as a mainframe competitor is offering servers that run NT based in part on Intel and Sun Microsystems chips."

Unisys will supply its models HMP IX5600 and HMP IX5800 servers, which will replace about 70 legacy systems. The servers are based on CMOS technology that includes Intel Pentium and Custom Enterprise processors. The EMC Symmetrix 5700s provide about 7 terabytes of storage and will offer full data redundancy through disk mirroring.

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