Now that Sun Microsystems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp are all catching it up in the 64-bit Unix server market, Digital Equipment Corp is set to bolster its own offerings next week, supporting faster processors, bigger clusters and higher bandwidth interconnects on its flagship Turbolaser systems. DEC will claim that the combination will speed application performance by between 50% and 100% (CI No 3,134). The company will launch upgraded AlphaServer 8400 and 8200 TurboLaser symmetrical multi-processing Unix servers using up to 14 new 612MHz Alpha 21164A processors, up from the current 500MHz clock speed. The 8000 series can also be upgraded to DEC’s first Alpha RISC fabricated in an EV6 six-layer metal process, the 21264, due out in 500MHz versions by the end of the year. A new 2.0 version of the PCI-based Memory Channel interconnect derived from Encore Computer Corp’s Reflective memory technology to tie servers together, provides the additional bandwidth to support up to eight TurboLasers in clustered arrangements from four previously. Memory Channel maps memory configurations between systems in the cluster for failover and provides application-to-application communication services, IP services, and data locking across the cluster. It also provides load balancing, 30 second failover and requires Oracle Parallel Server, Oracle 8 or Informix XPS parallel databases. A Memory Channel PCI card connects a new crossbar Memory Channel hub. Memory Channel 2.0 is priced at $3,000 per node from early 1998. It works in conjunction with new versions of DEC’s TruCluster software for Digital Unix which costs $4,000 per node in December. The new AlphaServer 8200 series model 5/625 system cost from $175,000 in a basic configuration while the 8200 5/440 is reduced to $130,000 and additional RAM reduced to $50 per Mb. A two-way upgrade from a model 5/625 to the 21264 will cost $65,000. The fourth release of DEC’s Unix 4.0 operating system – Digital Unix 4.0D – includes Y2K compliance, increased connectivity to DEC’s Windows NT and support for shared tape subsystems. On its own DEC 4.0D is said to improve application performance by 17% over the previous release. DEC’s supposed to have support for 16 nodes in hand. DEC has been selling 64-bit systems longer than just about everybody else, but has so far failed to turn its advantage into sales. A recent survey of leading CIOs showed that DEC is still losing momentum amongst large corporations (CI No 3,256).
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