Unisys adds capacity on demand to its Intel server

Von Patrick Thibodeau

Unisys Corp. is adding capacity on demand to its Intel-based servers as a way of offering users processing power before they need it. While the capacity-on-demand concept has been around for a while, Unisys said today it is now providing that extra capacity at no additional cost.

For instance, a user company can buy the vendor"s ES7000 server with Real Time Capacity (RTC) with eight processors even if it only needs four processors initially. Unisys will charge a 10 percent premium for the extra four inactive processors. If the user company ultimately turns on those four processors, it won"t have to pay an additional fee, said Mark Feverston, Unisys" director of platforms for systems and technology.

Unisys, which announced the capacity-on-demand initiative today, will also allow a user to turn the additional processing power on and off in 15-day increments. But once the power is turned on for the fourth time, the processors will stay on and the customer will, at that point, own the additional processing power, said Feverston.

If the customer "never turns those [processors] on, we are never going to make him turn them on -- we are truly sharing the risk of his infrastructure," said Feverston.

The ES7000 servers with RTC, which run either Windows or Linux, are available now and are shipped with the number of active processors sought by a customer, as well as four inactive Xeon MP or Itanium 2 processors.

Joe Clabby, an analyst at Boston-based Summit Strategies Inc., said Unisys is betting that customers will eventually need that processing power, "and they are basically netting an eight-way deal out of something that started as four-way, without making the customer have to upgrade all the time."

Because the processors are already in place and ready to go, Clabby said, users could ultimately save on configuration costs.