Good Enough?

ClearPath Forward4 minutes readNov 7th, 2012
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The old adage “just good enough” seems to drive many technology decisions in the market. The concept of “just good enough” is one of delivering the required technology at the lowest price – everyone wants the lowest price. But determining “just good enough” is a challenge, particularly in an environment that requires mission-critical attributes to assure continuous service to the end users of a critical application solution. Typically, mission-critical solutions require a number of fundamental attributes, including exceptional levels of system reliability, the highest levels of security and the ability to scale the application quickly, without excessive migration costs. These are challenging attributes that are easy to communicate via a presentation, but much more difficult to deliver in practice. Consider security. Every major operating environment in the industry has encountered data compromise, with the exception of ClearPath MCP and OS 2200. Wondering how to confirm this – look at the National Vulnerability Database maintained by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Is use of an operating environment that has encountered data corruption something that conforms to “just good enough”?

Scalability may be a requirement, particularly in today’s environment of mergers and acquisitions, as well as peak periods (expected or unexpected). If you had a mission-critical application that needed to significantly increase in size, could it be done with your current platform infrastructure, or would it need to be replaced? If it does need to be replaced, what level of software transition is needed – will the migration require new levels of system integration and updated levels of software? Has this been factored into the cost and time to support a rapid expansion in business? ClearPath can provide a significant expansion or processing resources on most current systems and if an upgrade to a new platform is required, the migration occurs with much greater simplicity, due to object code compatibility and operational consistency. This is far more than a claim – it is backed by many customer experiences over the past 1-2 years. The accommodated substantial changes in their business without disruption, at least as it applies to their ClearPath-based solutions. What is “just good enough” in this area?

Reliability is another element of mission-critical support. Good levels of reliability can be developed for most operating environments, but the cost is frequently quite high. The most fundamental high reliability functionality is typically delivered through component redundancy, including various forms of clustering. Duplicate hardware components are not a major cost consideration, but leveraging clustering can add immediate and long-term integration time and costs. In many cases the primary software components are sourced from multiple supplier, so system integration investments are needed. This can be complex, particularly when considering mission-critical elements such as audit/recover, business continuance, security and other software components needed to elevate system reliability. This system integration requirement extends to the platform and associated storage subsystems – they need to be part of the system integration and total solution qualification as well. With ClearPath, Unisys engineering absorbs the majority of these responsibilities, reducing costs and accelerating availability of new software and hardware technologies. In addition, Unisys provides support for the majority of software elements, eliminating support conflicts across independent software suppliers. So, what is “just good enough” for your solution?

These ClearPath attributes are native to the program and apply across all of our systems, from the NextGen Intel-based platforms to the largest ClearPath platforms based on proprietary processor technology. Mission-critical is simply native to the basic design of our technology. The result is a system that more than meets “just good enough” and ultimately assures a cost-effective vehicle for mission-critical solutions. This is particularly true when considering the Total Cost of Ownership, which is the real measure of a systems economic value.

So, the newest ClearPath systems introduced in May (Libra 460) and October (Dorado 4200, Libra 4200, Libra 6200) offer the caliber of technology to ensure mission-critical solution support. The rigorous testing and partner/customer evaluations have confirmed that they meet the ClearPath challenge – deliver something that is more than “just good enough.”