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Intel Hardware IT

Intel, Unisys Partner On New Range of Servers 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the RISC-is-our-business dept.
itwbennett writes "Unisys is primarily a services and consulting company with just a small amount of revenue coming from hardware, but they may be on to something new that could 'could give them a competitive advantage at a time when the big guns are a mess,' says Andy Patrizio. Unisys and Intel are are set to introduce on September 9 a new kind of secure computing platform designed to as a replacement platform for RISC systems running mission-critical cloud and big data workloads. 'It sounds funny to hear Intel talk about RISC migration since it is in the RISC business with the Itanium,' says Andy Patrizio, 'but at this point, what's left? HP was the driving force behind Itanium and it's in chaos right now. IBM has a healthy RISC business, so the target is obviously what's left of the Sun installed base.'"
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Intel, Unisys Partner On New Range of Servers

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  • Itanium is not RISC (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:23AM (#44627295)

    Itanium is not a RISC or CISC CPU. It is EPIC (Explicity Parallel Instruction Computing). Sheesh.

    • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:38AM (#44627359) Journal

      and in this particular case, it was an EPIC FAIL.

    • True, but for the purposes of discussing the market, this is a valid statement. Just like the general purpose RISC CPUs - now just SPARC and POWER - run either UNIX or proprietary OSs or Linux/BSD, similarly, the only thing that Itanium runs is HP/UX, Debian and FreeBSD. Its standing is even worse than that of SPARC, in that there are other OSs such as OpenBSD that support the SPARC, whereas there is just one Linux and one BSD distro each supporting Itanium.

      It's good that Intel is making an attempt to r

      • Except that Windows 2008, Redhat 5, and SUSE all run on Itanium as well. Just because they aren't releasing new code (in the case of Microsoft and Redhat, SUSE will continue to release new code indefinitely) doesn't mean it isn't still supported.
    • Itanium is not a RISC or CISC CPU. It is EPIC (Explicity Parallel Instruction Computing). Sheesh.

      But, the i960 [intel.com] is and wasn't even mentioned.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        As was the i860. The i960 ended up being used in printers and other peripherals, but never really materialized as a general purpose CPU. Neither did the i860, which did find itself in a few supercomputers, such as Intel's Paragon. Are those 2 CPUs still made by Intel - I was under the impression that both were EOLed
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      It's called VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word), not EPIC.
      EPIC is a buzzword which was used in marketing Itanium.

      VLIW is a long instruction word containing a few (typically 1 to 4) shorter instructions that are to be executed in parallel (usually, they're homogeneous, but that's not necessarily the case).
      Since it has few bits to code each short instruction, and the extra instructions executed in parallel requires having more registers, it is very RISC-like.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        No, for Itanium, it's EPIC. See above the discussion about the differences b/w EPIC and VLIW
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:26AM (#44627305) Journal

    Are you tired of freedom? Does using open standards that are flexible and adoptable and freeing you from the chain of locked ecosystems? Is your uptime and performance too high?

    Unisys: We have the way out.

    With cheap plastic servers combined with an inflexible proprietary ecosystem you too can be trapped today! Fulky phb compliant with fancy brochure ware with hot business slang no one completely understands fully included for free.

    • They are going to be running Xeon, not Itanium. When they talk about 'moving away from RISC,' they are talking about migrating Solaris customers over to Linux.

      Why is this news? Because one of the few remaining 'big iron' companies is making a deal with Intel to make custom chips. That's as far as I can tell from the article......
      • by unixisc (2429386)
        Okay, I read it. So how would that be different from all the other companies that make Xeon based servers - companies like HP, Dell, IBM, Oracle, Cisco and a whole host of other companies? I mean from Intel's POV, not Unisys'
    • by bmomjian (195858)

      Did anyone recognize this matches the introduction to the radio show "Escape"?

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_(radio_program) [wikipedia.org]

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:38AM (#44627357)

    They have had some interesting systems over the years, such as the ES7000 line.

    Enterprise Servers: Unisys ES7000 Model 7600R G3 Enterprise Servers [unisys.com]
    Up to 8 sockets and 6 TB of memory with Red Hat and Suse support.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:49AM (#44627401)

      Unisys's role as a system house goes back further than you think and is much more extensive than you think.

      Unisys were one of the original mainframe companies...

      http://www.unisys.com/unisys/theme/index.jsp?id=16000034 .. they go back to the days of Control Data, Prime, etc, but I suppose young whipper snippers won't know anything about that.

      • by stox (131684) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:48AM (#44627579) Homepage

        They had mainframes before IBM did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIVAC [wikipedia.org], well before the days of Control Data, Prime, etc.

        • Moreover, they still make the ClearPath IX computers which have an ancestry back to the UNIVAC 1107 from the early 60's. It retains features that are now considered anachronisms like 9-bit chars and a non-zero null address.

      • Unisys were one of the original mainframe companies...

        Uhhh, that is factually incorrect. Unisys was a comparatively recently formed entity, as a result of a merger between Burroughs and Sperry/UNIVAC. Burroughs dates back to 1904, and UNIVAC was a product of the corporation formed from the outfit that built ENIAC, which was just a little before my time. ;)

        My first systems programming job was with Burroughs, back in the 1970s, and I got involved with Sperry in 1981. Their systems were totally different from each other (in those days, a contractor like myself

    • I ran my Unisys ALR 6x6 (6 ppro's) for years. It was an fun machine and served its master well
  • Back in the day ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DERoss (1919496) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:03AM (#44627441)

    I worked for Unisys and one of its predecessors for 24 years. At the time Unisys was created -- Burroughs did a hostile takeover of Univac -- the combined company had some 130,000 employees; and about half of its business was with the U.S. military. Now the company has about 22,800 employees and seems to have no military business. I stuck with the company even when they started treating salaried software professionals as if they were hourly assembly-line workers. I stuck with them when they imposed an 18-month salary freeze that did not apply to executive bonuses. I left when it was obvious that any manager who brought new work to our site would be fired.

    • I worked for Unisys and one of its predecessors for 24 years

      Ah, you can settle a question for me then ... my daughter is always wondering if a flying horned horse is a Pegacorn or a Unisys.

      Was this ever a part of the Unisys name?

  • Just Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @02:20AM (#44627485)

    Unisys' existing mainframes already use Intel Xeon chips with FPGA coprocessors implementing their original mainframe ISA. So whatever they're about to unleash upon the world is likely to be a rehash of some current product. This sounds like pure marketing buzz.

    Unisys is actually interesting because they're the last large vendor still selling a sign-magnitude machine and maintaining an accompanying C compiler, albeit they only adhere to the original C89 standard. But then again, so does Microsoft.

    http://public.support.unisys.com/2200/docs/cp13.2/pdf/78310422-010.pdf

    A char is 9 bits, short is 18 bits, int is 36 bits, long is 36 bits, and long long is 72 bits. unsigned has the same range as positive signed values. Addresses are in words, not byte offsets like on Intel.

    Full C conformance actually requires a fair bit of costly emulation, so by default its disabled. For example, conversion from signed to unsigned is well-defined in C, but to get the specified behavior on a signed-magnitude implementation the compiler must emit code to compute the value, whereas on twos-complement the bit value is identical.

  • Back in the 90's, the pecking order was: Sun, HP (DEC/Compaq), IBM. Now it's something like: IBM, Sun (Oracle), HP.

    So I have to wonder . . . is IBM on top, because they have better technology . . . ?

    . . . or . . .are Sun and HP behind, because they have crappy management . . . ?

    I'm expecting the responses will be quite amusing, yet insightful.

    • I'd say it came from their speed in switching to x86 and cheap Unixes. Sun had the strongest ties to hardware so they had the most difficulty staying with Solaris and Sparc. IBM was already focused on consulting so they had the least difficulty. HP had different divisions with different interests so on average they were in the middle somewhere.

    • It's was CPU tech that put IBM on top.

      Sun couldn't get a new design out to save their lives and HP shit-canned PA-RISC to get in bed with Intel on Itanium, which has always been late and slow and difficult.

      IBM on the other hand kept slowly be steadily improving their ppc CPU tech.

  • Reminding all whipper-snappers here that UNISYS is the nice patent troll society who wanted everyone to pay royalties for using the GIF image format [wikipedia.org] because they claimed a patent on LZW compression. This was after GIF had become popular. This led to the development of the PNG open format. The patents have all expired in 2004 but that doesn't make UNISYS a nice company.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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