Integration with Docker, VMware and Microsoft SQL among key advancements in software for flagship computer systems
London, UK, November 18, 2015 – Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) today announced new software developments, including integration with Docker containers, VMware management and Microsoft SQL databases, that advance its flagship ClearPath Forward computer systems. The new capabilities are designed to evolve ClearPath Forward systems further into open, software-driven platforms that serve as hubs in hybrid software-defined data centers.
The new software capabilities boost application performance on ClearPath Forward systems, streamline management of enterprise-wide IT infrastructure, bolster data protection for critical workloads, expand support for widely used third-party virtualisation technologies, and simplify application development.
With this move, Unisys has fully integrated the capabilities of its Forward platform – previously offered separately for Linux and Microsoft Windows applications – into the ClearPath line, capitalising on the systems common software-based fabric computing architecture.
The key ClearPath Forward software advancements announced today are:
Multiple secure fabric partitions providing data isolation and enhanced security;
Integration with Docker containers and VMware management for virtualization;
Data exchange between ClearPath and Microsoft SQL databases;
Application Integration Services that simplify development of cross-platform applications;
Ethernet gateway switching for interoperability with existing data centers.
“Redefining the ClearPath Forward line as a software-driven platform is a cornerstone of the Unisys technology strategy,” said Tarek El-Sadany, senior vice president, Technology, and chief technology officer, Unisys. “We recognise that software provides the greatest added value to our ClearPath Forward clients, and we are committed to continually providing new capabilities that enable their systems to serve as the foundation for fully integrated, enterprise-wide hybrid computing infrastructure. Those enhancements will make it easier for our clients to deliver critical business services to their customers faster, at significantly lower capital and operational cost, while building on their long-term IT investments.”
The software-based ClearPath Forward fabric runs on Intel Xeon processors. The fabric links all computing resources and components via a high-speed interconnect, with Unisys secure partitioning (s-Par??) software managing all application workloads. Each partition is a software-defined blade with dedicated processing, memory and input/output resources for each workload, eliminating contention among applications for computing resources and enabling fast, predictable application performance with exceptional security.
Each ClearPath Forward system can support nodes running either the Unisys MCP or OS 2200 operating environment, as well as those running Linux or Windows. Applications running in all environments on a given system can interoperate over the fabric.
Enhancements Boost Workload Capacity and Security, Simplify Management
The new secure fabrics capability speeds up traffic across the fabric and boosts security for sensitive workloads and associated data as well. The capability enables users to designate up to 118 secure fabric pipes for priority access to additional application resources and provide extra security. For example, a human resources or healthcare application using sensitive data would be an ideal candidate to be moved from a separate server to a ClearPath Forward partition within a secure fabric.
Secure fabrics use remote direct memory access (RDMA) protocols for memory-to-memory communication to deliver performance enhancements. For extra workload and data protection, secure fabrics delegate authentication to a separate, “out of band” administrative network, providing virtual LAN (VLAN) capabilities without security risks. The Unisys Stealth solution provides an option for additional security, complementing secure fabrics and the unmatched security of OS 2200 and MCP.
Docker and VMware integration expand the options for making ClearPath Forward systems part of extended enterprise IT infrastructures.
The ClearPath Forward system’s new integration with the popular, container-based Docker platform enables multiple applications to run in their own containers within a single partition under one copy of the operating system – unlike standard virtualised environments, which require a copy of the operating system per virtual machine. This increases workload density on a ClearPath Forward system while reducing resource overhead, increases security for Docker workloads through “out of band” authentication, and simplifies infrastructure administration.
An application programming interface (API) enables the VMware vCenter Server to see Windows and Linux partitions in the ClearPath Forward fabric, so administrators can view partition status and fabric health, manage executing workloads and provision new ones. This capability not only simplifies management of the infrastructure, but also expands the number of virtual servers it can support for critical business operations.
The Unisys Data Exchange solution speeds operations by reducing the need for batch processing and enabling applications to post data in near real time to Microsoft SQL databases and the native ClearPath Forward MCP DMSII or OS 2200 RDMS databases. This enhancement is especially valuable for advanced data analytics, because in-memory applications such as those written for the SAP HANA platform require more and faster real-time processing. Data Exchange offers a bidirectional capability for MCP and an outbound one for OS 2200, so applications can extract data from a ClearPath database and send it to an analytics database. The analytics database can in turn send back requested data to MCP applications.
ClearPath Forward Application Integration Services can accelerate application development and promote interoperability in a distributed, heterogeneous application environment. The services provide API that enable applications running in one operating environment to access applications, data files and other resources running in a different one. For example, Microsoft .NET developers can write applications that call on MCP or OS 2200 transactions or files. Distributed applications deployed across the Windows and MCP or OS 2200 environments can take advantage of the high-speed interconnect in the ClearPath Forward fabric to interoperate quickly and transparently.
Ethernet Gateway switching connects ClearPath Forward systems directly to Ethernet backbones in existing data centers through secure fabrics. This capability furthers the creation of enterprise-wide hybrid computing infrastructures and enables consolidated, flexible management of all data center resources.