ICL, now 84% owned by Fujitsu Ltd, is hoping to push its 1,000 OpenVME mainframe customers over to the future Merced line via Trimetra SY, LY and DY servers. SY runs OpenVME on the proprietary CMOS chips built for it by Fujitsu, but can also host UnixWare or NT on an Intel co-processor. The 16-way SY can deliver 600 mainframe MIPS, though ICL says its biggest users are at 400 MIPS currently. It has plans to offer a 24-way SY and other high-end configurations. The headroom, achieved without another revision of its CMOS design, which will not be developed further, will be enough, ICL thinks, to satisfy users until it gets Merced systems with equivalent performance out of the door. Although it admits OpenVME is not 100% efficient on Intel – the 42-bit operating system currently runs under emulation on 32-bit Pentium Pro processors, it believes Merced’s price/performance advantage will outweigh the need for proprietary chips in the long-term. The DY, due in the first quarter of next year, will host a single Pentium Pro running OpenVME and performing 6 MIPS and a four-way board to run UnixWare or NT, all in the same cabinet. It’s seen as the vehicle for OpenVME customers to test their software on Intel. LY is a smaller SY configuration. ICL says it’s already taken 40m pounds of advance orders for the box. It says over half of total system cost is accounted for by storage. As suspected, ICL’s other architectures, including Sparc-based symmetrical multiprocessor servers and its massively parallel Goldrush system, plus the Mips-based Pyramid Technology Corp systems it has resold, have all bitten the dust. ICL says some of the Goldrush work will go forward into a new parallel system architecture it plans to describe next year.
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