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August 23, 1988

DEC ENDEAVOURS TO STEAL MARCH ON IBM WITH COMPREHENSIVE WIDE AREA NETWORK OFFERINGS

By CBR Staff Writer

DEC yesterday launched an Enterprise-Wide – and worldwide marketing campaign in an attempt to raise its profile in the wide area networking arena and, it hopes, beat IBM to the corporate customer market. At the hub of the wide area net announcements is the DEC MicroServer, a MicroVAX II-based piece of hardware which is the Ethernet communications host for a clutch of new software products. DEC claims that its MicroServer runs at speeds four times faster than its ageing PDP-based predecessor and its function is to set up high speed connections for synchronous long-distance applications. A new DSV11 interface enables entry-level DEC workstations to be directly connected on a wide area network at higher speeds than supported by the Q-Bus synchronous interface – two 64Kbps lines or one at 256Kbps. Three programs, to connect DEC-to-DEC, DEC-to-X25 and DEC-to-IBM, are available to run on the MicroServer. DECrouter 2000 links DEC-to-DEC machines across a wide area net and intelligently calculates the cheapest route across the hotch-potch of PTT governed public networks (DEC expects this to be a boon as falling tariff rates across Europe tempt users onto the public networks). The router supports traffic flow between 63 disparate areas. X25router 2000 extends the performance of the DECrouter across an X25 network to enable DECnet users to talk to Open System Interconnect environments. And DEC is enhancing its IBM interconnect capability in an effort to win the allegiance of mixed-vendor corporate customers before IBM gears up to target wide-area networks. Two versions of DECnet/SNA Gateway, also hosted by the MicroServer, are on offer to meet the differing requirements of users performing processing functions such as terminal emulation and file transfer between DEC and SNA systems. The top-end or motorway gateway, the Channel Transport, sidesteps the traditional front-end processor to link directly to the channel of a locally-installed 370 on an SNA network, supporting up to 255 concurrent jobs or sessions. The mid-range DECnet/SNA Gateway for Synchronous Transport also runs on the MicroServer, and supports up to 128 concurrent sessions. At the bottom-end, an enhanced version of its VMS/SNA software will provide users with a single speed system-to-network SNA link, says DEC. And the DECnet/SNA Data Transfer Facility software has been enhanced, and, using either one of the Gateways, or VMS/SNA, provides fast bidirectional file transfer and access to IBM MVS hosts. File transfer facilities now extend to Ultrix Unix and to MS-DOS. In the Open Systems Interconnection realm, DEC announced its conformant File Transfer and Access Management, FTAM, software product which is due to be shipped this October. DEC claims their product has passed interconnectivity tests with 30 other vendors. UK Prices for the DECrouter 2000 and the X25router 2000 are UKP8,520 and UKP11,715 respectively, both out now. The DECnet/SNA Gateway for Synchronous Transport is UKP14,200, next month; the Channel Transport version is shipped at the same time at UKP14,200. Available this month, the DCV11 Synchronous Interface is UKP3,200; the DECnet/SNA DTF software comes at UKP14,200 in October. VAX FTAM prices start at UKP3,000 but vary according to the processor. No prices were given for MicroServers. Major new Ultrix release – see below.

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