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  1. Technology
September 27, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

It used to reek of one of those clubs to which entry required learning a bizarre language of acronyms. But now DECUS, the Digital Equipment Corp Users Society has got to fight for its right to party under the Compaq Computer Corp regime and has cranked up a PR and marketing campaign for its 1998 meet in Los Angeles between October 3 and 8. The group’s biggest draw for potential attendees is the product and technology roadmaps Compaq is expected to delineate there – including rationalization – plus the Texan’s ear. Compaq will listen, is the raison d’etre for users to attend and air their views. Moreover DECUS says Compaq is keen to maintain the user group micro-climate and even foresees itself one day morphing into Compaq’s enterprise user group. It says Compaq has already guaranteed future funding for DECUS and its European sister event Eureka, which convened in Paris a couple of weeks ago. DECUS is hoping for around 1,350 conference attendees and 4,500 exhibition visitors. While Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer appears only by video link John Rose, Mike Gallup and other heavy hitters will be at the San Diego event in person. If DECUS mirrors the recent Eureka event, then the kind of things we’re likely to hear are cozy plans for future generations of the Alpha chip, Digital Unix, OpenVMS and systems. More thorny questions about product transitions to the Compaq brand and the shedding of certain lines will also be addressed. We’re grateful to Terry Shannon of Shannon Knows Distributed Enterprise Computing who summarized some of Eureka’s key messages. On the chip front the EV68 follow-on to the forthcoming 21264 EV6 part (it’s an 0.18 micron shrink) will do around 80 SPECint95 in half the real estate of Intel’s Merced and 20% cheaper. The EV7due around the end of next year hits 95 SPECint95 with on-chip switches and a reduced number of chips, while the EV78 at 115 SPECint95 is due in 2000, and EV8 (Arana) turns in 200 SPECint95 in 2001. The 575MHz EV6 21264 does 38 SPECint95 and57 SPECfp95 and will reach 800 MHz in the 0.25 microns CMOS7 process this year and achieve 1GHz in 1999. We’re still waiting to hear about Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s plans for licensing and using Alpha IP under the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of the DEC/Intel Corp lawsuit settlement. Shannon thinks another Alpha foundry will be forthcoming too. Other systems include WildFire the 32-way EV6 successor to the Turbo Lasers which will use DEC’s flavor of NUMA – no backplane and no flat SMP – which Shannon terms SKUMA; sorta, kinda NUMA, or NUMA done right. Digital Unix-based WildFires will go to 64, the 120 CPUs, with a design point of 256. DEC will also re-badge Sequent Computer Systems Inc’s NUMA-Q servers. DECUS attendees should also finally get a peek at the Galaxy clustering environment for OpenVMS-on- WildFire which will unite 8- or 12-ways SMP nodes into systems with up to 120 CPUs. Galaxy uses Adaptive Partitioned Multiprocessing, to install multiple copies of an operating system (multiple SMP nodes) and get them to work co-operatively. Scalability is claimed to be nearly linear. On WildFire-class systems DEC will trumpet the ability to run Unix, Windows NT and OpenVMS and provide varying degrees of application, resource and physical (hardware) partitioning. Galaxy-on-NT’s due in 1999. It’s claiming 12,000 applications on Alpha these days. Shannon spies new two-way Goldrush Alpha server models by the end of the first quarter; eight-way Regatta-class servers in the same time- frame; 120-way WildFire by the end of the third quarter of next year, the Monet workstation by the end of the first quarter and Anaconda later. Improved PowerStorm graphics and even Linux-on- Alpha may also be in the pipeline. Meantime, the DEC 88×00 servers will become Compaq AlphaServer GS; the 4x00s become ES; and the 1200s become DS. DS3300 Series become becomes a four-way EV6 andEV67 ProLiant Alpha Series; DS5300 a two-way EV67 ProLiant Alpha Series; and DS7300 Series the uniprocessor EV67 ProLiant Alpha Series. Workstations will be priced from $2,000 to $10,000 using Intel and Alpha. Top of the pile will be the Alpha and IA- 64-based Extreme performance XP line, into which DEC’s Alpha desktops transition. Compaq’s 6000 and 8000 Professional workstations become the midrange SP Scalable Performance line using 32-bit Intel Slot CPUs. The AP affordable performance line will use 32-bit Slot 1 chips and will be the line DEC’s Intel lines and Compaq’s 5000 and 5100 products.

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