Unisys, for example, places a heavy emphasis in support services to obtain maximize performance. A large group of support and implementation staff are available to walk users through the planning, prototyping and deployment of the ES7000 server. Customers can take advantage of a wide range of services such as setup and installation of Windows NT/2000, pre-installation analysis, hands-on sessions on the platform’s system management applications, capacity planning, Active Directory planning, customer training, benchmark services and performance analysis.
While Mainframe and UNIX shops are not beating a path to their local Unisys dealer, the ES 7000/W2K Datacenter platform is gaining ground among existing Windows shops as an effective means of server consolidation. British Columbia, Canada-based Mark Anthony Group (the maker of Mike’s Hard Lemonade), for example, saw its server population grow from two to 18 within a few months.
“Our support staff realized we needed to consolidate our servers to help sustain system manageability,” said CIO Josie Bradley.
Mark Anthony Group implemented the Unisys ES7000/Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server combo resulting in fewer servers to manage, simplified systems management, server load balancing, and gaining the ability to add processors to the server as business grows.
“We wanted technology that offered mainframe stability, but in a client/server environment,” said Bradley. “That’s been difficult to find but it’s finally arrived. We can run three critical applications in the same environment, plus assign processors to meet changing demands. We can also add more processors over time without doing a forklift upgrade.”
Wait and See
Despite this vast upgrade to the Microsoft midrange arsenal, though, sales have not been easy to come by. With IT spending still tight, many appear to be waiting to see how the ES7000/Windows 2000 Datacenter performs for their more adventurous peers.
Analysts, too, are appreciative of its mainframe-like features but express caution overall.
“The Unisys ES7000 deserves is position, but users must still recognize that this is a young product addressing an equally immature market,” said IDC analyst Martin Hingley.
It might be a year or too, then, before the world is ready to embrace big iron Windows.