Jarogate Ltd, one of the few surviving UK computer designers and manufacturers of those that sprung up at the end of the last decade, is to reveal new products at the Which Computer? Show later this month, designed to push its Intel-based supermicro products into wider markets. The company will be adding fault tolerance to its 286 and 386 Sprite multi-user systems, and offering fault tolerance modules for existing Sprite users. According to Managing Director Robin Tracey, small to medium size firms are increasingly taking advantage of high powered 80386 based hardware to run business critical applications, and therefore risking serious disruption in the event of a system crash. A small business may have 30 people on a system, with no data processing department and not even have traditional minicomputer features such as fast tapes and removable disks to help with back-ups, says Tracey, who also points to a recent survey by Novell that revealed that up to 70% of installed Winchester disk drives fail within two years. Jarogate fault tolerant machines will include a second disk drive to mirror the first automatically (this also improves system performance, says Tracey); an uninterruptable power supply on the main system, with software to close down everything automatically after five minutes of power failure, and bring it back up again afterwards; protection against database corruption with facilities to store a previous record during updating; and a program to record keystrokes between tape back-ups that will restore data up to the moment of the crash.
Jarogate also offers fast file-by-file back-up software for changeable data. Fault-tolerant facilities will add around ?2,000 to the price of a low-end ?4,000 micro, and ?5,000 onto a basic 80386 configuration currently costing around ?20,000, but Tracey feels this is a small price compared with three days of grief after a serious system crash – one day waiting for the engineer to come, a second for the repair, and a third recovering the information. He said that he was amazed at supermicro vendors offering 64-user systems without these facilities Jarogate currently stops at 32 users with its Sprite 386, but will offer 64-user system once the new security features are in place. One of the earliest micro manufacturers to include performance-related features such as disk cache memory and input output controllers, Jarogate still does its on manufacturing at workshops in Surbiton, and claims it has survived through continued growth at a reasonable level, concentrating on particular targets. Although until recently the company had its biggest success with Concurrent DOS systems, it now has around 100 Unix/Xenix systems installed in the UK.