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January 26, 1988

ITL DEVELOPS ITS OWN ASIC-BASED FAULT TOLERANT PROCESSOR FOR UNIX

By CBR Staff Writer

Not content with reselling US supplier Sequoia Systems Inc’s Unix machines, British minimaker ITL Plc is keeping the flag flying by developing its own range of Unix-based fault-tolerant systems, which are intended eventually to succeed its Momentum minicomputer line, which runs the proprietary Modus operating system. The new products, which will combine ITL hardware with software based on Sequoia’s Topix operating system, will come in below the Sequoia systems that ITL sells as the 21090 range but are planned to offer two to three times the price-performance of the 21090. If the company’s designers do their job well, the new machines should in fact outperform its 68020-based boxes. They could be in beta test by the end of the year, and will complete an across-the-board commitment to Unix by the Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire manufacturer, which also sells Motorola’s System 8000 supermicros rebadged as the 21040. ITL will be using ASIC technology for the range, and is adopting Tektronix’s PCB WorkSystem and Gate Array WorkSystem to speed the design process. Although convinced that ASIC technology will improve reliability and increase performance of the resulting product ITL is approaching the project cautiously and will have two prototyping stages. The first phase, discrete semiconductor design, has already begun and is due for completion at the end of the second quarter. Work on an ASIC design will then start and the firm hopes to be able to put it into beta test at the end of 1988.

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