Value-added reseller EIS Computers Inc’s hoping to steal a march on Sun Microsystems Inc by introducing its own PCI bus-based UltraSparc RISC systems which can utilize off-the-shelf PC components before Sun announces its own systems using the PCI bus implementation of its RISC architecture over the next few weeks. EIS, a 1994 start-up which resells Intel-based desktops and servers from the likes of ALR and IBM, some running Sun’s Solaris x86 Unix implementation, expects the addition of PCI bus will drive the commoditization of UltraSparc systems, which currently use Sun’s proprietary Sbus technology. Indeed EIS president David Van Beveren says it’ll drive his company’s business for the next two years. Sun made a PCI bus version of its UltraSparc technology available to system builders some months ago as the Ultra AX board and is slated to reveal first PCI systems of its own shortly (CI No 3,036). In time Sun’s expected to turn much of its desktop product lines over to using PCI bus because of the quantity of PCI peripherals and add-on devices available. EIS says that by taking the whole motherboard from Sun and building its own Fusion-1 system round the part it can avoid the problems other UltraSparc-compatible builders such as Axil Computers Inc have had trying to develop their own boards. While other Ultra AX system builders such as Monrovia, California-based GNP Computers are targeting the telecommunications market, EIS will be competing with the likes of Sun reseller MicroAge Inc. Priced at $7,900, EIS’ 1 Fusion-1 system, available in workstation, server and rackmount configurations, is some 50% cheaper than Sun’s non-PCI equivalent configuration, but still much more expensive than the type of high-performance Windows NT PC workstations sold by Compaq and Dell. The price includes 64Mb RAM, 2.5Gb disk and Solaris 2.5.1 but no monitor. EIS includes on-site support and will spend the next two quarters establishing a chain of resellers across North America which will integrate specific application services. It’s mainly sold direct until now. In addition EIS plans to offer its own system packages pre-configured with Netscape, Oracle, firewall and other applications software for web, internet, mail and database serving. Privately-held EIS, Moorpark, California, claims it made a profit on turnover of more than $2m in 1996.
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