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March 6, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Fault-tolerant supermicro manufacturer August Systems Inc, which seemed to vanish a couple of years ago when it ran out of cash, is alive and well and now living in Crawley, West Sussex – and has a couple of cheerful stories to tell. It has joined forces with Stratus Computer Inc to marry is skills in real-time fault tolerance with those of Stratus in general purpose computing, and it will have a new 68020-based machine out in May. Renamed Bonar August Systems Ltd and now a subsidiary of UKP240m-a-year Dundee, Scotland based conglomerate Low and Bonar Plc, the company was rescued by Low and Bonar in February 1987. Low and Bonar gained world rights to August’s industrial fault tolerant controller, the 68000-based CS 300 for what was clearly a nominal, but undisclosed sum. The technology is based on a technique known as triple modular redundancy, using software implemented fault tolerance: this works by having three processor execute the same code in parallel, and where one of the three produces a different result from the other two – as a result of some malfunction or soft error, a majority vote on the right answer is taken by the three processors. August Systems’ machines were designed primarily for use in real-time manufacturing operations, and under the agreement with Stratus Computer Inc, the two companies will combine their product lines to provide complete real-time fault-tolerant plant and supervisory control systems for manufacturing and process applications, from plant floor control to management information systems. The company’s management is now British based but operations span the At lantic and research and production are done both in the UK and the US. The bulk of Bonar August’s sales have been in the US, where there are over 100 CS 300 systems instal led in applications from chemical process control. The CS 3000, due in May, will be based on a trio of Motorola 68020s, and will be offer ed with the pSOS kernel – that’s Plessey Silicon Operating System – and a fault tolerant Unix kernel.

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