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January 26, 1989

CINCOM ANTICIPATES IBM’s LIKELY MAJOR DATABASE DIRECTION FOR 1990s WITH ITS SUPRA 2

By CBR Staff Writer

Charting the steps behind Cincom Systems Inc’s Supra Version 2 announcement (CI No 1,101), product manager Jeff Stokoe said that close attention had been paid throughout development to IBM’s activities. Key IBM consideration for the mid-1990s, Stokoe argued, has been a solution to current data transmission limitations, or more specifically, how to deliver data at greater speed to a series of processors. Stokoe believes that with the next generation Summit line of mainframes, IBM will place expanded storage ahead of main storage to create the largest buffer in the world, managed, if you give credence to rumours, by an expert system. Transmission speeds are estimated to be 12 times faster than the original Memorex hard disks. Mean-while, IBM delivered the foundation to the distributed solution with Systems Application Architecture, and the arrival of the AS/400 and the PS/2, he said. The implications for Cincom, he continued, were clear. With IBM’s distributed environment firmly in mind, top development priority at the Cincinnati, Ohio company was given to Systems Application Architecture compliance and Structured Query Language transparency. New features within Version 2, designed to accommodate these goals, are the Distributed Relational Database Manager, DRDM, a global directory, and a Heterogeneous Data Management Processor, HDMP. Transparent distribution will be achieved in a later release with the introduction of a Logical Protocol Interface, added Stokoe. Cincom is also claiming a distribution first with its transaction partnering facility, developed through information gleaned via its tech-nological exchange with Nixdorf Computer AG. Cincom acknowledges the help of Nixdorf Computer in implementing the database: the two companies had a technology exchange, but are apparently not coming out with a jointly developed product line, as originally thought. Nixdorf apparently helped with the Transaction Partnering facility of the database, which ensures data integrity across distributed environments. This moves beyond a so-called two-phased commit, by the sender dis-patching complete information of the machines in-volved, along with the data. If the sender fails, the machines can establish who else is involved in the transaction, by opening up communications. If any one machine has received the data, all those involved can commit. If data has not been received by any machine, the transaction auto-matically returns to the sender.

Supra 2 is primarily targeted at IBM and DEC environments, but will also be available in a Unix version at its next release. The product, which implements a client-server architecture, is said to be the first three schema relational database to become commercially available, based on the ANSI Standards Planning and Recommendation Council guidelines. The Supra product includes the Mantis application development language and Spectra query report writer. For users wishing to upgrade from Supra Version 1, Cincom will provide a set of conversion tools. However, Cincom chief Terry Booth said that Version 1 will continue to come out, and believes that there will be overlap for some considerable time.

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