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ClearPath Connection

Software Is the Future and the Future Is Here

By Brian Herkalo, Director, ClearPath Solutions and Portfolio Management, Unisys

Brian Heralo

We opened the June 2015 issue of ClearPath Connection by looking back at the history of the ClearPath® program and sketching out the advances that will define it in the future. Essentially, it’s a vision that centers on making ClearPath systems central players in tomorrow’s software-defined data centers.

Although I use the word “vision,” this isn’t something we simply aspire to do. It’s a real, tangible goal we’ve been building toward since we began the transition to an all Intel® foundation a decade ago. Completing that shift has opened up a vast new arena in which to innovate. We’re no longer as tied to the hardware as we once were, and because of the freedom this affords, we’ve been able to build a software-defined compute environment running within the ClearPath fabric-based infrastructure.

In doing so, we’ve taken a monumental step toward redefining the enterprise applications of a ClearPath system. It’s now positioned to serve as a central component of the modern, tightly integrated, software-defined IT infrastructure.

One of the ways we’re capitalizing on this shift is with the revolutionary ClearPath Software Series.

The Software Revolution

The ClearPath Software Series is a game-changer on many levels. For starters, it’s a bold evolution of the overarching strategies underpinning the ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 operating environments.

A suite of software-only deliverables is not just something new for the ClearPath program, it’s an idea we could never have brought to life without the tireless work of our engineering team. Building the fabric wasn’t enough for the group – they’ve continually pressed ahead to see what else the infrastructure is capable of.

So, to that end, the ClearPath Software Series also represents a significant step forward in terms of how we leverage the strengths of the fabric-based infrastructure. We’re building on the fabric’s inherent flexibility by using our Secure Partitioning (s-Par®) technology to create software-defined blades within the ClearPath environment. Because they’re based entirely within the software, rather than hardware, you have the freedom to redefine virtually every aspect of these blades – size, memory, cores, I/O resources, and the like – as you see fit.

This unprecedented flexibility makes them an excellent foundation for the first phase of ClearPath Software Series deliverables – MCP Developer Studio, MCP Developer Studio Personal Edition, and MCP Express – as well as any future releases that fall under this umbrella.

The Deliverables

The first offering we delivered under the ClearPath Software Series umbrella is MCP Developer Studio. On the surface, MCP Developer Studio is fairly basic – it allows you to develop MCP applications in much the same way as you do today. But look deeper and you’ll see the difference: because it’s based entirely in software, it all but eliminates the need to purchase and maintain a dedicated development system. Everything can now happen on a blade directly within the fabric environment.

This means you have the ability to do a number of things you couldn’t before. For example, you can give your top developers a dedicated environment in which to work – without requiring them to share resources with the rest of the team.

You can stage multiple MCP levels simultaneously or test an interim correction before moving it into a production partition. Or, you could even run different development processes in parallel, all within the same system. No matter how you leverage MCP Developer Studio, it’s sure to help you increase developer productivity and extract greater value from your ClearPath environment.

Next, we have MCP Developer Studio Personal Edition. Much like MCP Developer Studio, this offering supports MCP development without the need for a dedicated system. But, MCP Developer Studio Personal Edition differs in the sense that, rather than residing within the fabric, it can be deployed onto a laptop, making it easy for developers to be productive from virtually any location.

The final item in the first wave of deliverables is MCP Express, a truly ground-breaking advance in how we’re enabling people to interact with the ClearPath MCP environment. Designed specifically for the academic community – though it can also be used by clients for training purposes – MCP Express is a free download that allows students to immerse themselves in the MCP development environment.

We want students to learn how to use one of the world’s most secure operating systems – and in doing so, make MCP development a ubiquitous skill. By fostering the next generation of programmers in this way, we’ll be directly addressing a continuum of skills, agility, and growth. We hope that with the help of MCP Express, new hires come out of college with a passion for the mainframe and the skillsets to match, so they’re ready to become productive members of our clients’ teams on day one.

The Start of Something Great

The first three deliverables in the ClearPath Software Series are the beginning of an exciting new phase in the ClearPath program’s history. But, they are also just that: the start.

As the technologies we build into the fabric evolve, improve, and mature, the ClearPath Software Series will follow suit. So while we’re addressing the simpler aspects of development today, what we roll out in the next phase promises to be far more significant.

After all, the fabric is at the heart of the ClearPath Software Series. And as we like to say when discussing the possibilities created by the fabric: the options are limitless.