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Unisys Preps ES7000 for 64-bits

Unisys Corp. disclosed a few of its plans for its big Windows/Intel server Tuesday as Intel released the long-awaited 64-bit Itanium chip.

The Unisys ES7000 server is partially dependent on Itanium. Unisys began shipping the servers more than a year ago with dual compatibility – they can run 32-bit or 64-bit processors.

Now that the 64-bit processors are here, Unisys officials say the ES7000s that customers have can be field upgraded to 64-bit processors immediately.

Meanwhile, Unisys is also polishing plans for limited availability of ES7000 servers with up to 32 Itanium processors running the faster 800 MHz flavor of Itanium this year.

The newer Itanium-based ES7000s will also ship with 64 GB RAM. That's double what Unisys has been shipping with 32-bit systems, but the same as the limit Dell Computer Corp. is offering with a considerably less powerful four-processor 64-bit system.

Unisys plans to have general availability of the systems in the first quarter of 2002, coinciding with the expected availability of Microsoft's 64-bit Windows 2002 Datacenter Server and general demand for higher-end Windows systems, a Unisys spokesman said.

The industry consensus on Itanium seems to be that ISVs and customers will use it primarily for testing and development with early production rollouts happening in the timeframe of McKinley, Intel's second-generation 64-bit processor.

In keeping with that expectation, Unisys is retelling its partitioning story with the ES7000. The server is built so that several partitions can be run in one box. For example, an eight-processor partition could be running Itanium processors with 64-bit Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition and a test application, while another eight-processor partition could be running a production app on 32-bit processors.

The Unisys spokesman also says Unisys will be offering the beta 2 version of 64-bit Windows 2002 Datacenter Server to customers who want to deploy or test greater-than-eight-processor 64-bit systems.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.