Unisys has joined forces with the SAS Institute to make Linux enterprise-ready for business intelligence in a move that demonstrates the server maker’s commitment to meeting customer interest in open-source software and services.
The effort is aimed at helping organizations migrate from the proprietary Unix/RISC-based systems to industry-standard 32-bit and 64-bit Intel-based technology infrastructures.
Sixty-four-bit computing delivers highly scalable and available servers, and the associated memory caches and buffers ensure critical information is delivered with speed and accuracy.
“We’re seeing heightened customer interest in Linux-based business intelligence solutions — particularly in the financial services industry,” said Keith Collins, CTO of the SAS Institute.
“Working with Unisys — a long-time price/performance leader among high-endIntel based systems — and its ES7000 family of servers, we’re well poised to make Linux-based business intelligence a reality for our enterprise customers.”
Indeed, Linux growth on servers is accelerating fast, according to market research analysts. Linux server revenues grew almost 60 percent in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the same period in 2003, according to IDC, and server unit shipments of Linux jumped 46 percent over the same period, the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
Unisys vice president of systems and technology Chander Khanna said changing business dynamics are making it more important than ever to extend business intelligence to individuals and groups across the enterprise.
“Simply put, Unisys ES7000 servers, based on Intel’s Itanium 2 technology, are built for enterprise business intelligence,” Khanna said. “With industry-leading software providers like SAS joining us to bring Linux to the enterprise, we’re delivering standardized solutions for business intelligence and data warehousing that are comparable to Unix/RISC-based competitors at a significantly lower cost.”
IDC analyst Al Gillen told LinuxInsider that the partnership makes good business sense for both companies.
“Unisys hardware is clearly not basic infrastructure hardware,” he said. “In the market spaces where Unisys plays the customers they have are really at a different level of deployment than the basic infrastructure play. The partnership allows both companies to bring a solution to their respective customer sets that makes sense in that market space.”
Some have speculated that fears about security with Microsoft may be causing more businesses to move to Linux. But Gillen said security concerns alone are not a smart business reason for making the switch because migration can be costly.
“If they are concerned with security, a much better way to resolve those concerns is to spend the money on firewalls and other network protection that will give them a greater level of confidence in their systems,” he said.
Working with OSDL
Unisys has also announced its membership in Open Source Development Labs, a Linux consortium that includes competitors like HP and Sun, to advance the adoption of the open-source operating system in the enterprise data center.
“Enterprise customers are demanding industrial-strength Linux solutions,” said Unisys President and Chief Operating Officer Joe McGrath. “By participating in OSDL’s working groups, we’ll contribute to important discussions with Linux developers, other IT vendors and end users to help advance the adoption of Linux in the enterprise data center.”
Industry leaders such as Intel, Unisys and SAS are now working together to offer these capabilities to the Linux operating system at a significantly lower cost than RISC-based alternatives. OSDL members hope these factors will contribute to a significant boost in enterprise acceptance and adoption of Linux business intelligence.
“For Linux to continue its growth in the data center, customers will require hardware and software choices,” said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. “We’re very pleased to have Unisys join as our newest member and we look forward to tapping their expertise in high-end systems in the form of contributions to our working group initiatives.”
Unisys’ third-quarter earnings were down and company officials could be looking for a boost with this new Linux offering. Gillen said Unisys has been missing out on migration opportunities from customers who are moving from Unix to Linux.
“Linux does represent an opportunity, and it’s an opportunity that Unisys can serve,” he said. “By providing a Linux solution it gives Unisys the opportunity to capture opportunities that may not have existed with a Windows solution.”