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October 15, 1998

AMDAHL SETS COPPER MILLENNIUM; UNIX “NO THREAT”

By CBR Staff Writer

Amdahl Corp will add a third generation of CMOS Millennium mainframe processors in December 1999 that will perform more than 2,000 MIPS in 12-way configurations, according to VP worldwide marketing Ali Jenab. The new CPU, a one-inch square device done in a copper process with 10 million gates, will face an interesting match-up with Hitachi Data Systems Ltd’s second generation of Skyline ECL mainframe engines, which will deliver some 2,100 MIPS in a 12-way system when introduced in the third quarter of next year. IBM’s copper-based G6 processor, due next September, will supposedly do between 200 MIPS and 225 MIPS as a uniprocessor. Amdahl, which claims to be increasing its market share, reportedly has around 20% of the CMOS S/390 market. It claims that the mainframe market will boil down to two players: itself and IBM. Jenab says the recent reorganization and consolidation strategy laid out by HDS’ Hitachi Ltd parent (CI No 3,506), clearly shows it doesn’t have the wherewithal to continue developing the gargantuan ECL-based ACE mainframe chipset development effort for much longer. In any case, as the largest mainframe users find sufficient power in the new breed of CMOS engines they will begin deserting Skyline for these alternatives, Amdahl contends. Jenab says that its parent Fujitsu Ltd will deliver an 0.05 micron part by 2003. Jenab’s unconcerned about Unix’s supposed encroachment on mainframe territory. He happily resells Sun Microsystems Inc’s biggest servers alongside Millennium. Neither Sun nor any other Unix box has the reliability, availability or serviceability features of mainframes he says. Let alone Amdahl’s MSF Multiple Server Feature partitioning mechanism. Even Sun can only do very basic hard partitioning, he says. By the time Unix gets to where mainframe RAS is today – two or three years by his reckoning – mainframe technology will have moved that far ahead again.

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