Unisys Cultivates Linux Relationships

Unisys announced two new partnerships this week, which it hopes will help
reinforce its commitment to Linux.

The mainframe vendor has partnered with business intelligence vendor SAS to provide
64-bit BI solutions for Linux. According to Derek Rodner, Linux program manager for
Enterprise Systems at Unisys, the deal is part of growing a
Linux ecosystem that will provide the services and support needed by

“Working with SAS to develop the 64-bit BI solution, we’re really trying
to create that ecosystem,” Rodner told internetnews.com.

Unisys also announced that it would be joining the Open Source Development Labs,
the home of Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

“We couldn’t start to offer Linux and not add value to it at the same
time,” Rodner explained. “By joining the OSDL we have an opportunity to
show our commitment to the Linux community and help set the
direction of data center Linux moving forward and to provide those
features that we’ve come to expect from the mainframes of old.”

Beyond the OSDL, Unisys sees its role as furthering the capabilities of
Linux for true enterprise computing with the two main enterprise Linux
vendors themselves as well.

“We’re currently working with both Red Hat and SUSE to develop
functionality around the operating system to create a complete
complement,” Rodner said. “In the enterprise space, you need things like
clustering technology, and you need to be integrated with high-end storage.
We’re working with them on the technical aspects to make sure those things
are there.”

This week’s initiatives follow the company’s announcement in August that it made
its ES7000 line of 32- and 64-bit Intel servers available for
Linux. The move to Linux for Unisys is about timing, in particular the
availability of the Linux 2.6 kernel.

“The key factor of our interest in the Linux marketplace is really the
adoption of the 2.6 kernel,” Rodner said. “That kernel really has the
enterprise class features that we feel are necessary to begin to offer
Linux to our customers.”

In Rodner’s opinion, the current position of Linux in the enterprise is
similar to the position that Windows held when Unisys first started
deploying that OS.

“We started at a point where Windows was not yet really prevalent in the
enterprise. There weren’t really the scalable windows solutions,” Rodner
stated. “We feel that we’re at the same point today where we’re actually
creating a market space for enterprise class Linux.”

The market for Unisys Linux solutions is not intended to take from its
existing offering, according to Rodner. Rather, the intention is to go
after the Unix-RISC space — Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM (AIX) — and take that
market from them.

“I don’t look at it as cannibalizing existing business, I look at it as
cannibalizing others.”

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