IBM Corp will be using a souped-up version of the Data Crossbar Switch already found in RS/6000 SMP servers, to deliver linear performance increases to users of its eight and 12-way 64-bit AS/400 and RS/6000 Apache and PowerPC 620 servers due later this year. The switch, which enables processors to access the shared memory in the same cycle, was originally developed in conjunction with Compagnie des Machine Bull SA, which also designed the dual- CPU PowerPC boards with external secondary cache, multiprocessing system bus and some AIX enhancements that IBM used in its first series of Micro Channel Architecture-based AIX multiprocessing servers. Bull used the so-called ‘Pegasus’ project technologies to build its own Escala variants of the RS/6000 servers. The eight-way AS/400, due in the third quarter, and 12-way, expected by year-end – plus the RS/6000 equivalent which will be announced in October – will use the Rochester, Minnesota-based division’s single-chip ‘Apache’ or PowerPC 625 implementation of the multi- chip PowerPC AS used in existing AS/400. Clustering AS/400s and RS/6000s together via a switch architecture like that used to connect RS/6000 nodes into parallel SP2 configurations is mostly just discussion at this point, we’re told. Meantime, the RS/6000 division’s supposedly deciding whether to go public with its 64- bit plans as early as June. 64-bit PowerPC 620 upgrades for existing RS/6000 J and R models are due the same time as the PowerPC 625 Apache-based servers, plus 64-bit AIX and support for Oracle’s 64-bit database. With IBM’s first quarter numbers showing RS/6000 business is still poorly (CI No 3,147), one insider admitted if we screw this up, we’re out of business, to be honest. It can’t survive on SP2 alone. Meantime, it’s still trying to get this re-branding done. The problem, we’re told, is that the division doesn’t want to begin giving new model numbers to the current batch of what are effectively processor upgrades, confusing the everybody in the process. It’s now supposedly going to wait for the opportunity presented by the wholesale design shift with the Apache line.