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Unisys to expand mainframe line

The company is sticking to an established market with its new servers, even though more companies these days are coming out with machines that act as alternatives to mainframes.

Unisys, one of the few companies that continues to sell mainframe computers in competition with market-leading IBM, will announce an expansion of its high-end machines Monday.

The company will announce faster machines in its ClearPath Plus line, which shares much of the same hardware as its ES7000 "cellular multiprocessing" Windows servers.

Cellular multiprocessing lets Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys run its older mainframe operating systems and Windows 2000 on the same system. Through partitioning features, which let a system be divided into several independent servers, different operating systems can coexist in different sections of the hardware.

Unisys is sticking to an established market with the new servers, even though more companies these days are coming out with machines that compete with mainframes--the stalwart business computers known for their ability to handle large numbers of transactions.

Powerful Unix servers from IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and others have caught up to mainframes' computing abilities in some areas, and companies are offloading mainframe work to lower-end machines instead of upgrading their mainframes.

Fujitsu subsidiary Amdahl has decided to phase out its mainframes, for example, but IBM and Unisys mainframes continue to defy competitors' proclamations of extinction.

Unisys said it will introduce three new machines Monday.

The ClearPath Plus CS7402, which can use up to four Unisys custom processors and runs the OS2200 operating system as well as Windows, has a starting price of $413,000.

The top-end CS7802, which runs OS2200 and Windows, has been upgraded to accommodate as many as 32 OS2200 partitions, twice the number as before. Its starting price is $2.9 million. In addition, the 7802 can accommodate as many as 32 processors instead of 16. Unisys also offers the new CS7812, which offers similar technology at a lower introductory cost.

The CP7201, which runs the MCP operating system, can accommodate as many as eight partitions. Its entry price is $587,000.