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September 17, 1998

COMPAQ CHOOSES ALPHA OVER MERCED FOR TANDEM HIMALAYAS

By CBR Staff Writer

Compaq Computer Corp has now confirmed that it will use the Alpha RISC chip it acquired from Digital Equipment Corp as the basis for its proprietary Tandem Himalaya S-Series servers in the future – as we suggested it would (CI No 3,478). The servers, which run Tandem’s NonStop Kernel operating system, currently use the MIPS RISC from Silicon Graphics Inc. The news is good for supporters of the Alpha chip, which at one stage looked under threat under the new ownership. The MIPS chip, having failed to crack the general CPU market, is now being aimed at embedded systems. Before Compaq’s acquisition of DEC, it had intended to use Intel’s Merced for high-end Tandem systems. The first Alpha- based Himalayas are expected to use the EV7 version of the chip and reach the market some time in 2001. Further upgrades to the MIPS chip will be made between now and then. Tandem’s Unix-based Integrity servers, targeted strictly at telecommunications firms, and which constitute less than 15% of Tandem’s business, are also MIPS-based, but are not expected to move over to Alpha. Efforts in that direction are mostly towards Intel-based systems, and Compaq has been shipping NonStop Clusters for UnixWare on Intel- based ProLiant Integrity XC systems to telecommunications companies since the beginning of the year. Tandem has also licensed its Unix-based NonStop technology to the Santa Cruz Operation and is working with Microsoft Corp to incorporate some of it into Windows NT.

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