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  1. Technology
May 24, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Hitachi has rights to rs/6000s, and plans 200mhz power chip set, powerpc systems and more

It is understood that the broadbrush – and still expanding alliance between IBM Corp and Hitachi Ltd gives the diversified Japanese electrical and electronics conglomerate rights to re-badge and market IBM’s RS/6000 AIX line as well as future products, to resell the SP2 PowerParallels, manufacture Power architecture chips, develop its own implementations and more most of which, it says, has not been decided yet. The parent company has already said it will offer SP2 PowerParallels in Japan – its Hitachi Data Systems Inc international marketing arm – 20%-owned by Electronic Data Systems Corp – is evaluating it for sale elsewhere, but says it will add its own middleware and database software if it takes that route. In part, it depends on whether customers can wait for a line of parallel systems Hitachi itself plans for 1996. They will come with up to 128 nodes and use an Hitachi implementation of the Power CPU, running at around the 200MHz mark and doing up to 400 MFLOPS peak on each processor. Running a parallelised version of Hitachi’s HI-OSF/1 Unix operating system they will start at around $250,000. Further out, for the market below $200,000, Hitachi plans PowerPC-based symmetric multiprocessing servers with up to eight (or 16) processors that will use PowerPC 620s or whatever PowerPCs are around at that time. The servers will run HI-OSF/1, though where required, users will be able to toggle into Windows NT. Native NT and other HI-OSF/1 systems are seen in the plan, possibly desktop workstations too, though Hitachi doesn’t consider HI-OSF/1 appropriate below the $10,000 barrier. Hitachi Data says it hasn’t decided whether it will take RS/6000 technology direct to fulfil any of these requirements. Under Hitachi’s existing affiliation with Hewlett-Packard Co, it already manufactures Precision Architecture RISCs and offers Precision Architecture RISC-based workstations and a massively parallel system in Japan. Although Hitachi Data promises applications programming interface compatibility across Precision Architecture and Power/PowerPC systems – it is keen to play down the architecture issues – it is unclear whether the massively parallel Precision Architecture systems will see the light of day outside Japan or whether there will be any further Precision Architecture-based products. Indeed the Hewlett-Packard alliance looks like being the net loser in the new alignment.

IBM seen as a suitable customer for parallel mach ad

Hitachi’s HI-OSF/1 Unix uses the Mach AD microkernel and is being enhanced for parallelism. SPEC 1170 compliance, applications programming interface compatibility across all HI-OSF/1 systems and applications binary interface compatibility for software developed for AIX on Power RISC is also promised, along with a common application environment, tools and other functions from Osiris, its collection of HI-OSF/1-based middleware, networking and application technologies already up on some of its mainframes. Osiris includes HI-OSF/1, C and Fortran compilers, Distributed Computing Environment, Network File System servers (using dual-channel attached and Ethernetted Sun Microsystems Inc Sparc systems as network co-processors), hierarchical storage management, database servers and transaction processing. This week it will add support for Epoch back-up and storage and the Veritas file system. It plans C++ and Cobol support and is evaluating code generation technologies that will enable parallel applications to be developed on workstations. Token Ring, FDDI, X.25, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, ISDN 100Base-T, SMDS and Frame Relay are also in its plans. Hitachi will extend Osiris support to most of its mainframe and RISC systems and may add CICS to the environment as well, although it is developing its own CICS alternative called Btran. Moreover, Hitachi Data thinks it highly likely IBM will take its parallel Mach AD microkernel: although parts of AIX went to make up OSF/1, the AIX kernel remains essentially a uniprocessor af

fair. Where this would leave the symmetric multiprocessing extensions to AIX that Groupe Bull and IBM are working on is unclear.

IBM mulls oem deal on next generation monolithic mainframe

Working through its statement of direction last week, Hitachi, as reported (CI No 2,418), admitted it is quietly confident that IBM will announce within the next three months that it will take Hitachi’s next generation monolithic mainframe processor on an OEM basis. In addition to taking IBM’s new CMOS 390 processors in single and parallel processor configurations, Hitachi is developing a Summit series follow-on machine it is calling the S/390 Classic using a Hitachi-designed CPU with bipolar ECL and CMOS techniques implemented on the same chip, going to 60 mainframe MIPS per CPU. Hitachi Data says the machine – which it claims is much less than two years away will offer twice the performance of the current Hitachi Data Systems GX 8000 uniprocessor. The single image system will support up to 16 CPUs and will run MVS and Hitachi’s HI-OSF/1 Unix, though it’s also seen as a migration route for non-MVS customers (VM, VSE and TPF) up to a Parallel Sysplex environment. Hitachi Data says the new CPU will be significantly cheaper to manufacture than existing mainframe parts. It will continue to sell its GX6000 series for a while – it hasn’t sold EX systems for some time. It is easy to justify the need for a new generation of mainframe, it says. It points to the likes of the UK’s Barclay’s Bank Plc, which has told Hitachi Data it would take 11 years to re-write its 3,000-odd mainframe-based backroom applications for a client-server environment. Hitachi says the alliance will enable it to re-direct much of the $5,110m it currently spends on research and development every year. It warns us to expect much more from the agreement than has so far been made public and expects a further round of IBM announcements based upon the agreement over the next quarter. IBM refused to comment on any parts of Hitachi’s statement.

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Alpha, r-series to fade; sparc, precision moot

Although Hitachi says it hasn’t yet decided whether to delve into the RS/6000 catalogue or to manufacture Power chips, it has certainly staked out a Power/PowerPC future. It admits it is hedging its bets and is backing Power/PowerPC, CMOS System 390 and Intel Corp as likely survivors in the chip wars. Hitachi Data believes R-series and Alpha won’t make it, is quiet on Sparc (which it uses in its Osiris network co-processors), and rather lamely offers that Precision Architecture may make it. It is still waiting for IBM to give the Power and PowerPC processors a single brand name. It has heard the names PowerParallel and plain Power as possiblities. – William Fellows

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