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November 25, 1987

ITL BETS THE SHOP ON UNIX, OPEN SYSTEMS, FAULT TOLERANCE

By CBR Staff Writer

ITL Group Plc of Hemel Hempstead has bowed to demand from its customers and introduced a complete family of systems based on Unix and Open Systems standards. The long established proprietary Momentum 9000 and 10000 systems will continue to be developed and supported, said the company, but its main focus would henceforth centre on the Series 21 machines – billed by ITL as the world’s widest range of Unix systems, and supporting a range of users from four up to 2,000. The announcements cover two distinct lines – the 21040 range of departmental systems, and the 21090 range of fault tolerant transaction processors. The departmental machines, manufactured for ITL by Motorola and running Unix System V.3, consist of three models: the Model 42 is available now, supporting eight to 32 users and with an entry level cost of UKP30,000, the four to 12 user Model 41 will be ready early next year at a cost of UKP10,000, and a 24 to 96 user 68030 based Model 43 will be launched in the third quarter of next year, no price disclosed. The systems include a wide range of communications options. The fault tolerant Series 21090 corporate systems are from Sequoia Systems of Marlboro, Massachusetts (CI No 787) and are the first fruits of a technology agreement between the two companies set up in January. ITL will sell Sequoia’s Series 200 family as the Model 92 for 50 to 250 users, Model 96 for up to 1,000 users, and the Model 97 supporting up to 2,000 users. Only the Model 96 is available at once, for an entry price of UKP230,000. The machines use tightly coupled multiple 68020 processors (up to eight initially on the Model 96) allowing linear expansion of power, and the Unix kernel has been entirely re-written to support multi-processing, fault tolerance, and to increase on-line transaction processing throughput – ITL claims a TP1 debit/credit benchmark rating of 84, compared with 26 for a UKP1m Tandem machine and 50 for the recent Stratus model, in similarly priced configurations – but conformance to the Unix System V Interface Definition, SVID, allows applications such as Uniplex II Plus to run unchanged. An implementation of Pick runs concurrently on the Unix platform. ITL Managing Director Doug Gemmell said the company was now totally committed to Unix and OSI. He said that existing customers would be offered tools for migration to the new systems, but anticipated that most would be likely to integrate their existing systems with the new line in a network. The company insists that the move does not mark the beginning of the end of in-house manufacture, saying that it has rights to build the two new families under licence.

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