Unisys kills off mainframe chip

Unisys is phasing out its decades old mainframe processor, which is a technological dinosaur.

The chip is used in Unisys’ ClearPath flagship mainframes, but the outfit wants to move to x86 chips in the Libra and Dorado servers in the ClearPath line.

Unisys also announced 12 high-end servers with Intel’s Xeon server chip E5-2600 v2 chip, leaving its proprietary mainframe processor out in the cold.

The aging CMOS chip will be “sunsetted” in Libra servers by the end of August and in the Dorado line by the end of 2015.

Unisys spokesman Brian Daly. Dorado 880E and 890E mainframes will use the CMOS chip until the servers are phased out, which is set to happen by the end of 2015.

The chip had not gone away because its performance had not been surpassed. But x86 processors are faster and more power efficient, which makes them more attractive.

The other advantage is that they work with the latest components and interconnects, and common hardware infrastructure which make the new Libra and Dorado servers able to talk to systems based on Windows and Linux in data centres.

The hope is that as Intel comes out with new processor technologies, ClearPath servers will get faster, Herkalo said.

The fastest Libra 8300 server scales to 9,000 million instructions per second, compared to 5,800 million instructions per second with its highest-performing server with the proprietary mainframe processor.