Unisys Peddles Open Source Stacks with Oasis Effort
Published: June 6, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you don't have your own open source software stack, but you have a long history in IT services and lots of experience plugging together complex systems, then you can still make some dough. That's what the people at Unisys are banking on as the company launches the Open and Secure Integrated Solutions, or Oasis, service offering today.
After years of dragging its feet on Linux, Unisys came around to supporting Linux on its ES7000 servers in August 2004. Very quickly, Unisys established partnerships with key open source players that allowed the company to sell and support their products on its own gear and other iron at its customers' sites. Unisys did the obvious deals--Novell and Red Hat for Linux, JBoss for middleware, and MySQL for databases--to get its feet wet in the commercial open source market. With the Oasis offering, Unisys is going one step further and doing the integration and patch management support for various stacks of software, and contrary to its name, the Oasis offerings will eventually be hybrid and include services for a mix of open and closed source software, says Anthony Gold, vice president and general manager of the open source business line at Unisys. "For us to take a pure open source or pure proprietary approach does not make a lot of sense, since this is not what our customers are doing," he explains.
The Oasis application server suite is a stack of Linux software running the JBoss middleware stack, including what Gold says is a highly tuned Java virtual machine based on the one from Sun Microsystems that has been tweaked for the ES7000 hardware platform and its NUMA-like cell architecture. The suit also includes a program developed by Unisys called Application Defender, which is a security program for J2EE applications that scans the Java code, looks for security holes, and automatically patches the code to close those holes. Unisys is also launching a database server suite, which marries Linux licenses and MySQL or PostgreSQL databases. Customers who choose to deploy middleware on Windows platforms instead of Linux are absolutely allowed to do this, says Gold. Unisys is perfectly agnostic about the operating system--well, unless you ask for Unix, but there is always hope that Unisys will support Solaris on the ES7000s now that it is an open source program. It also stands to reason that Unisys will eventually offer Oracle 10g and Microsoft SQL Server databases in the suites at some point.
While pricing for the Oasis suites were not available at press time, Gold says that Unisys is only charging a small premium over the prices that the open source vendors themselves are charging for their licenses as part of the bundle. While he didn't say this, all the big server vendors already get discounted licenses from the vendors as part of their co-marketing deals, so they can make money even charging list price or slightly under it.