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Unisys sees BI for Windows

Looking to expand sales of its ES7000 Intel-based servers, Unisys recently hooked up with software vendors such as SAP and Microsoft in an effort to bring an integrated business intelligence (BI) solution to Windows enterprise users. The so-called Partners in Excellence program is focused on Microsoft Datacenter Server and SQL Server 2000 as well as other vendors, integrators and consultants. Unisys senior manager Steve Semen talked with about the program, and the image problem Unisys will have to overcome in order for it to succeed.

What's the biggest challenge in delivering integrated BI platforms to large-scale environments?
Our biggest challenge is to overcome old perceptions. Many people still believe that the Windows environments cannot cannot support multi-terabyte databases. This is simply not true any more! Today, ES7000 customers are running large applications that require very short response times on multi-terabyte databases using Microsoft SQL Server. If my company relies on Unix-based computing, what BI advice do you have for me?
Many companies are reluctant to move their data warehouses, however this does not preclude surrounding the Unix-based warehouse with ES7000/Windows-based data marts. This would allow for the use of SQL OLAP and data mining technologies. There is no need to continue to pay a premium for other environments. What do large companies name as their most important BI need - and their biggest frustration?
Actually, we noted two issues based on conversations with our customers. The first was that the cost of delivering these solutions with some of the more prominent Unix system vendors put the ability to implement certain BI solutions out of their reach. Also, they would not consider distributed or federated database environments due to the high cost and risk factors. Performance on distributed databases for BI applications was simply not acceptable. Why are you dedicated specifically to SQL Server solutions?
We have more than three years experience in building large-scale appsications in Microsoft environments.The Walklett Group, (which specializes in developing data warehouse and BI applications), has published two good white papers on this. One paper says you can get all the functionality you are likely to need from a Unix/Oracle environment in a Windows/SQL Server environment at a significant cost savings. The other paper describes the complexities and perils of managing distributed processing/federated databases environment, as well as the significant performance penalties associated with this type of architecture. This is where we're coming from. Do you think most companies understand the complexity of their BI challenges?
Companies seem to be at various points along the spectrum on this point. Some companies are many years into the application of BI in their enterprises and are well aware of the amount of work involved and the benefits of performing the work. Other companies are in the beginning of the information discovery process. They are asking basic questions that, once answered, will lead to much more complex and insightful searches for information embedded in corporate databases.

For more information on this new program, click here Ellen O'Brien.

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