Unisys has introduced the first in a planned series of managed cloud solutions for its ClearPath family of mainframe servers. ClearPath Cloud Development and Test Solution is a "platform as a service" (PaaS) solution that is intended to extend Unisys' strategy for delivering secure IT services in the cloud and to set the stage for delivery of further ClearPath Cloud solutions. According to Unisys, in its recent online poll, 46% of respondents - the largest single percentage response to any question in the poll - cited development and test environments as the first workloads they would consider moving to the cloud.
The new ClearPath Cloud Development and Test offering is not being introduced to replace customers' current development and test facilities, Bill Maclean, vice president, ClearPath portfolio management, Unisys, explains to 5 Minute Briefing. "It is really there to supplement them."
The majority of Unisys' customers have either a separate development and test system or a separate partition on their existing system to support that function, and they have taken this approach for a long period of time and it works well. This gives them the capacity not just to do development but to also do a variety of different testing functions, some of which at least would be load-based, Maclean says.
However, he points out, all Unisys customers run into situations where they need some added capacity. "They may run into a roadblock on development, they may have gotten instructions from senior management that they need to accelerate development, or they may want to test a new system software release and don't have the hours to do that on the existing test and development system." In these situations, he says, they need the ability to contract for incremental resources to supplement what they have in place - and that is what the ClearPath Cloud Development and Test offering is slated to address.
The Unisys ClearPath Cloud Development and Test Solution, hosted at Unisys outsourcing center in Eagan, Minn., and available to clients around the world, simplifies the transition to the cloud. The solution is designed to supplement clients' current development and test environments, providing access to additional virtual resources when needed for creation, modernization and functional testing of specific applications. It provides expanded infrastructure sourcing options; accelerates delivery of business functionality to help clients hold down costs and keep projects on schedule; and provides a new approach that helps minimize the risks of large, costly IT projects.
Clients who choose the ClearPath Cloud Development and Test Solution purchase a 3-month development-and test-block license to use virtual resources in the Unisys hosted server cloud environment. This gives them access to a ready-to-go development environment that includes a Software Developer's Kit (SDK) for the Unisys MCP or OS 2200 operating environment, including relevant database software and development tools; a virtual development server, with amounts of memory, storage and networking resources sized to the specific development and testing requirement; and software enhancement releases and maintenance support services.
Clients can use this solution to develop or enhance native ClearPath applications, integrate SOA technology to create composite applications or add functions such as business intelligence. The development environment can accommodate Unisys Business Information Server (BIS), Enterprise Application Environment (EAE)/AB Suite and other development environments.
Unisys says that its engineering organization has already deployed this solution for its internal system software development and testing, cutting virtual server provisioning time from days to less than an hour while avoiding the cost of additional capital equipment.
Additionally, Unisys offers optional Development and Test Planning and Setup Services to help clients define, implement and tune the best development environment for their specific initiative. Clients can also purchase Unisys Cloud Transformation Services, which help the client design and implement the right cloud strategy to support their evolving business needs. Plus, those using the solution for application modernization can opt for Unisys Application Advisory Solutions. These services help the client determine how best to streamline the environment for maximum return on investment - for example, consolidating applications, integrating SOA capabilities, or enabling wireless, web, or social-media access.
The new ClearPath Cloud Development and Test Solution will help clients achieve a level of agility that is required today to, for example, do enhancements to existing applications or corrections and, because it is a short-term operational expense as opposed to a capital expense, it is very economical, states Maclean. "It really is a new business model for ClearPath that will allow customers to get more out of their overall development and test environment."
The ClearPath Cloud Development and Test Solution draws on the infrastructure behind Unisys Secure Cloud Solution for provisioning and resource management -including Unisys Converged Remote Infrastructure Management Suite solution offering, which provides a unified view of an entire IT infrastructure to facilitate integrated management. Over the next several months, Unisys plans to launch additional ClearPath Cloud Solutions that, when available, will give clients new options for realizing the operational and economic advantages of cloud services. The planned solutions include a full cloud-based production environment for smaller, independent applications that is intended to enable clients to offload specialized applications into the cloud and maximize use of their data-center resources for mission-critical applications; data replication and disaster recovery for cost-effective, secure preservation of mission-critical business information; and managed, "software as a service" application solutions for clients' specific industry requirements. These are intended to complement Unisys existing SaaS solutions, such as the Unisys Logistics Management System for air cargo management.