Unisys taps Microsoft to bring BI to masses

Unisys Corp. will work together with Microsoft Corp., SAP AG, SAS Institute Inc., ProClarity Corp., and others to build an integrated BI (business intelligence) solution designed to further leverage the massive amounts of data companies collect and need to analyze, according to an announcement from Unisys on Wednesday.

Based on the Unisys ES7000 enterprise servers as a foundation, Unisys and its partners will deliver BI solutions in a Microsoft standard environment. As a result, these integrated solutions can bring analytic and reporting capabilities to the average user's desktop, allowing them to sift through corporate data for information they can use. In addition, BI solutions built on the ES7000 and current and forthcoming versions of Microsoft SQL Server platform are easier to manage and can deliver lower total cost of ownership compared to Unix-based solutions, said Don Montgomery, director of strategic programs at Unisys in Blue Bell, Pa.

No other server platform can provide the high levels of availability and performance needed to run intensive BI applications with the economics of the Windows/Intel server environment, Montgomery added. Although Unisys will be partnering with other application providers in the future for the initiative, they will focus solely on Microsoft SQL Server for the partnership.

"The desire to be able to modularly buy best of breed rather than go with an all-in-one BI in a box solution is compelling for us. The new database growth and the new opportunities to put robust scalable databases in place are happening on Windows," Montgomery said. "We are 100 percent focused on SQL Server and its follow-on products. We're bringing the economics of the Microsoft environment into the data center."

As BI becomes increasingly critical to company operations, enterprises are looking for vendors to take responsibility for integrating various pieces of a BI solution, said Henry Morris, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

"Unisys is trying to bring together these systems in the Microsoft environment to handle more challenging workloads," Morris said. "As BI becomes incorporated with operations, the availability that the system vendor can ensure is an important feature."

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