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  1. Technology
November 24, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Reviewing NCR Corp’s massively parallel system announcements (CI No 2,300), ICL Plc’s Peter Slavid, business development manager of corporate systems, argues that while there are differences between interconnect mechanisms used by vendors in massively parallel Multiple Instruction-Multiple Data machines, he says for most intents and purposes, they are non critical. ICL, NCR and others use a shared nothing approach, in which a logical global file structure and disks are connected directly to the CPU, not shared across them. The difference between systems of this type is the way that you get around it. ICL’s recently announced general-purpose Goldrush MegaServer uses the DeltaNet 1.2Gbps bus interconnect developed by Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, an eight-way mechanism that provides simultaneous – mesh type – connections between the HyperSparc RISC-based processing elements Goldrush uses. This approach, says Slavid, assumes the data you want is always somewhere else from where you are, and, he argues, is well-suited to transaction processing tasks. NCR’s Ynet bus interconnect mechanism, used in its System 3600, has been proven successful when used in decision-support systems, but is less well matched for transaction processing because of the number of steps or branches the system must go through before it reaches the data it is seeking, says Slavid. NCR’s 3600 is a combined front and back end system while Goldrush is positioned as a general-purpose file server that can be implemented alongside existing systems. It is aimed at the distributed systems market, for organisations that have already made the decision to go Unix and expect to move Oracle or Ingres database applications off existing systems like mainframes or Digital Equipment Corp VAXes. NCR’s parallel system, argues Slavid, is targeted primarily at the mainframe replacement market. With mainframe price-performance currently in the $20,000 per transaction area, and Unix typically at $3,000 to $5,000 per transaction, Goldrush is very definitely part of the latter, he says. Goldrush, currently beta testing at sites including the UK’s Department of Social Security, is generally available from next March.

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