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April 28, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

At last! VMS clustering, parallel techniques to be migrated to Unix for Sable servers

Among matters arising from Digital Equipment Corp’s big product launch earlier this month (CI No 2,392), the firm is working to bring its VMS clustering and parallel development techniques to Unix, and is launching an AdvantageCluster programme to this end, which includes a number of packaged system and software options. The DECsafe Available Server supports three nodes presently (more to follow), and comes with an advanced file system and a logical storage manager starts at $60,000. Ethernet or Gigaswitch interconnect-based Compute Server software includes a load sharing facility. By mid-year DEC will have a Database Server – in fact, Oracle Parallel Server with /Rm/Encore (on the 7000 and 10000 only) and a multiprocessor version of DECsafe Available Server. Early next year, it promises an AdvantageCluster with Oracle Parallel Server with RM/PCi and support for a range of CPUs, a distributed lock manager, cluster file system, prestoserve, high availability, some cluster-wide system management and DECsafe integration. By late 1995, it promises full functionality cluster alias, cluster file system II and extended cluster-wide system management. The 2100 series will consist initially of two units, the A500MP and A600MP models. Either machine can go up to four 190MHz Alpha AXP 21064/PCI RISCs (although they are eventually expected to go to eight) and 1Mb cache. They come with eight EISA slots and three PCI slots. Claiming they will do 124 SPECint92, 160 SPECfp92 and an estimated 180 tps on each CPU – or 496 SPECint92 and 640 SPECfp92 and around 600tps in a four-way. They come with from 32Mb to 2Gb. Specifically, a uniprocessor Windows NT Advanced Server A500MP with 64Mb RAM, 1Gb disk system is $18,900. With 2Gb disk and OSF/1 or OpenVMS, configurations are $26,900 each. Up to three A500MPs can be racked together – as cluster-in-a-box A500MP/R – in a 67 high cabinet at from $28,400 for a single system. The machine is regarded as a building block aimed at specific accounts such as the government. An eight-way clustered affair – two four-ways, disk and tape in a cabinet, the A600MP – with Unix or OpenVMS (clustering isn’t available to Windows NT yet) go from $77,800. The A600MP on its own is a pre-package rack-mounted affair that starts at $43,600 as a Unix configuration. DEC is also offering the two-way Model A500TDS variation, configured with 128Mb RAM, 4Gb disk, 19 colour screen and tools optimised for technical application developers at $54,140. The Technical Developer System, available only to the Unix community, includes the parallel software environment, Fortran90, Cohesion compiler, Kap, Fortran 77 and C tools, Fuse toolkit, and C++ and Fortran 77 compilers for symmetric multiprocessing and distributed network development. Sables are also available in other packaged database configurations from DEC and the relational houses until the end of the year. After six months in testing, DEC reckons it’s on safe ground offering three-year, on-site 24 hour warranty on them. Within a couple of years DEC expects revenue from server sales to be led by Unix machines, then NT installs, followed OpenVMS, in a market worth $18,000m by 1997. The A 500MP prefix denotes the first iteration of Sable, which has been some six months in testing since its sighting near the end of last year. A+, B or other notations are expected when Sable moves to the 275MHz Alpha (now going into production), and the 320MHz or other iteration thereafter. A second Sable generation this year depends on competition, market reaction to the machines and the volume it is driving, DEC says.

A 12-way Series 7000 is in the Sable product plans

DEC’s Series 7000 will get two performance tweaks, one in the summer and one around the turn of the year that will see it step up to 275MHz and 320MHz Alphas AXPs and a 12-way architecture. Enhanced input-output and operating system support for more than the OSF/1 and OpenVMS presently offered is planned. DEC has put what it sees a

s a conservative 3,000 tps measure on the technology. The 12-way technology destined for both the 7000 and Series 10000, with two CPUs a board, is dubbed Turbo Laser Plus.

OSF/1 3.0 with multiprocessing, as DEC seeks new name for its Unix

An early version of DEC’s new OSF/1 V3.0 implementation with symmetric multiprocessing support is available on the Sables, 4000s, 7000s and 10000s – with general release set for August. The current six-way implementation is simply a reflection of the number of CPUs DEC is currently able to offer in any Alpha system, and not an indication of the software’s scalability. The company is still working on a new name for its Unix, now saying that it will wait until the Novell Inc trademark has passed to X/Open Co Ltd so that it can brand its operating system with the Unix name in some form. Using its own numbers and public material from the other vendors, DEC has put the existing OSF/1 2.0 up against Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc Unixes in Spec 1170 conformance comparisons. It claims 99.5% of Spec 1170 applications programming interfaces are in OSF/1 2.0. Excluding System V curses it claims 87% compliance to the Spec, or 92% with. HP-UX 9.0, it says, delivers 56.6%, 74% and 48% compliance respectively against the same measures, with TCP/IP, XTI and maths applications programming interfaces either missing or non-conformant. Solaris 2.3 it believes is 95.6%, 78% and 85% compliant, with more than 50% of its internationalisation interfaces non-conformant and either missing or non-conformant TCP/IP applications programming interfaces. AIX 3.2 delivers 61.%, 68% and 45% compliance, DEC says, but additionally claims that the IBM Unix has limited applications portability with other systems, due to incompatibilities often not detected by compilers.

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OpenVMS 6.1 adds remote booting

The latest version of OpenVMS, 6.1, enables users of clustered systems to boot satellite systems across architectures. The system also supports Virtual Input/Output Cache, designed to reduce input-output bottlenecks. In the pipeline for OpenVMS are a log-structured file system to raise throughput, full 64-bit virtual addressing for applications that use over 2Gb memory, a Windows personal computer-based Systems Management Station, with graphical user interface for remote management of OpenVMS clusters, a version of the OSF/DCE Distributed File System, and X/Open Co Ltd Portability Guide 4 branding. DEC has also added a version of the Distributed Computing Environment for NT and is offering DCE 1.2 on OpenVMS 6.1. DEC claims that with 5,000 Alpha application now shipping and 800 expected by June 30, it has achieved critical mass or more. Of them, some 2,300 are up under OSF/1, it says, 2,300 are under OpenVMS, and 500 under Windows NT.

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