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October 7, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp has announced the first system running its Parallel Server implementation of version 6.2 of its relational database for Bristol-based Meiko Scientific Ltd’s Computing Surface, with versions for other environments including those of Parsys Ltd and nCube Inc to follow. Parallel Server, announced in March, is designed to overcome the performance overheads associated with high volume transaction processing applications by using parallel technology to escape the curse of bottlenecks and contention problems. Meiko – founded in 1985 by former Inmos International Plc scientists – has switched from the world of Transputers and the Occam assembly language to Sparc-based microprocessors running binary-compatible SunOS 4.1, pitching parallelism as a high-performance architecture that looks just like the one Unix users already know and love. Both companies have combined these parallel approaches into the Relational Datacache, whose beta test users include National Westminster Bank Plc and British Telecommunications Plc – the latter intriguingly muttering about looking at it as part of a platform strategy for network management. Selling points include portability, since Oracle claims ordinary Oracle applications can be implemented for the Datacache; scalability, since adding a node to a parallel set-up is supposedly easier than balancing workload in a symmetric multiprocessing configuration; and price-performance. Soon every Oracle employee will share founder Larry Ellison’s love affair with the massively parallel computing future – Ellison’s nCube sideline company announced an Oracle benchmark of 1,073 transactions per second earlier in the summer at a price per transaction of $2,482, less than that of an IBM Corp MVS mainframe. Pricing is per user and costs no more than Oracle’s usual Unix version, with an additional Meiko fee, though Oracle is also pushing the product to VAX users and as a networked database server – the transition tool to open sytems from the VAX/VMS background, it claims. All the implementation was done at Utrecht in Holland.

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