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My Job is to Hallucinate: Unisys CTO

Eric Ernest | March 20, 2014
Jim Thompson, CTO, Unisys, talks to Computerworld India about the company's Forward! solution, the state of the Unix mission critical market and how India figures in Unisys's future plans.

Unisys, a company that can trace its lineage back to the late 1800's when it was involved in manufacturing typewriters, has travelled a long path since then to being what it is today. While it is not heard of that much as other similar companies, it is a testament to its ability to continuously adapt to various market conditions that it continues to be successful in servicing today's mission critical environments. We spoke to Unisys' CTO Jim Thompson, who was in Bangalore to judge the Cloud 20/20 competition, about the company's new solution, Forward!, his plans for the Indian market, the state of the Unix mission critical market and how India figures in Unisys's future plans.

What does your role at Unisys entail?
One of my best jokes is that "my job is to hallucinate" in many respects. You know what the difference between a hallucination and a vision is? It's how many people see it. (laughs) I want to create a vision and get many people to see it.

It's an interesting role to have in a company. Innovation is one of those things that I spend a lot of time thinking about and wondering why some places do it better than others.

As a company, this is an exciting time for us as we are pushing a couple of technologies like Stealth, Forward!, ITSM - the hybrid cloud.

Could you tell us more about the Forward! Solution?
Forward! is a fabric computing environment and it is a framework designed to realise the promise of software defined computing in all aspects. When you consider SDN, SDS, these things are being delivered in ways that are limited in all forms. [At a time] when the market is looking for a kind of a uniform computing utility - and we have been talking about utility computing for decades - I think the technology is finally there where organizations can buy the compute in the dimensions and volumes that they want it in, either to run an application or perform a service or even store information— whatever it maybe. That's why we call this the Hybrid enterprise, the merging of cloud computing wnd traditional data centre. It's for this that we think you need an infrastructure that runs across the environment that is uniform — what this means is that you need a common compute. And it's for this that we have chosen Intel's Xeon as the common compute, and built programs around how we migrate PA-RISC / Unix workloads. These things run on Itanium - which has an event horizon in its not too distant future - or Power (series servers from IBM) - the word from IBM is that it is pushing hard on the Power series.

 

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