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June 2, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:29pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Dolphin Interconnect Solutions Inc expects to double or triple annual revenue over the next two to three years – an unremarkable ambition for a company in one of the hottest sectors of the market. It is at the forefront of developments in shared memory cluster (SMC) and non-uniform memory access (NUMA) technology. And that means that this $6 million, 75-man company from Norway is central to the plans of some of the industry’s most powerful hardware vendors. Sun Microsystems Inc buys its technology as does Data General Corp and Siemens Nixdorf/Pyramid. The primary aim of the company was to further the development of SCI (scalable coherent interface), an interconnect technology defined by the International Electrical and Electronic Engineers standards committee which was designed to solve the inherent performance and scalability problems of system buses. Dolphin’s aim was to embed SCI in a range of chip sets, adapter cards, switches and cluster management software to make it easier to build highly scalable, clustered hardware offerings out of commodity components.

Profits by 1998

In October 1995, those efforts were boosted by the purchase of assets, patent rights and staff from Kendall Square Research Inc, a former supercomputer specialist. The company’s business is currently built around supplying other computer manufacturers and systems integrators with chip and board level products together with middleware software that give a single system image to machines made up of large clusters of nodes. Dolphin Interconnect Solutions has roots in the early days of European hardware production. It was spun out of Dolphin Server Technology AS in 1992, a manufacturer of Unix servers based on Motorola chips. Getting to its present level of technology has required significant funding. After two relatively small rounds in 1992 and 1994, the company received a massive $20 million injection at the end of 1995. Dolphin, which now has its HQ in the US, recorded a revenue of $6m in 1996, a 100% growth rate over 1995. Managing director Knut Alnaes says they aim to become profitable by 1998. One key component of the company’s revenue increase last year was the purchase of the Toolworks set of parallel/multiprocessing programming tools from BBN Corp, a former supercomputer specialist. Dolphin’s challenge now is to convert an increasing band of hardware vendors and systems integrators to its technology, and to expand its range of expertise beyond Unix to NT. Today, its biggest customer is Sun but Dolphin also hopes to win increasing levels of business from IBM Corp, Digital Equipment Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Compaq Computer Corp. But Dolphin faces competition from a wide range of sources, including chip set vendors, the server vendors themselves and other clustering specialists. Probably the most significant rival at this point is Tandem Computers Inc. Tandem’s ServerNet clustering technology is already being heavily backed in the NT world and is now being touted as a Unix solution as well. Dolphin and Tandem are known to have had talks about how they could work together, but no deal has been announced yet.

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