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  1. Technology
May 20, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Pyramid Technology Corp, San Jose, California, has re-packaged its R4400 Nile 150 server technology for the mid-range commercial symmetric multiprocessing market in a new box, the Nile 100, which scales from two to eight CPUs and starts at $155,000. The package of Nile 100 components, CPU, memory boards and input-output controllers, are packed into one cabinet – the existing high-end Nile 150, which houses up to 16 processors, has separate CPU and expansion units. Pyramid says the 100 has been optimised for single-threaded and multiprocessor performance and uses the same 150MHz R4400 as the 150. A basic configuration comes with two CPUs, 64Mb RAM and a choice of disk for 32 users and up – Niles can accommodate up to 4Gb main memory. Extra storage and peripheral expansion cabinets, the same as those used in the 150, can be attached to provide up to 274Gb disk – wide SCSI, when it comes, will enable more to be added.

Make up the bulk

The 150 starts as a 256Mb, 256-user system. The new Nile 100 will take over from Pyramid’s existing R3000-based MIServer ES line, which comes in three models with from 2 to 24 CPUs and up to 1Gb RAM. The 100 comes with the same Unix System V.4-based DC/OSx operating system as the 150, which was launched before the 100 to avoid Nile competing directly with ES from the outset. Pyramid is targeting its base of MIS ES server users as primary Nile 100 customers: all new orders are for Niles in any case. The Nile technology – which the company claims to have shipped into more than 100 sites – already accounts for half Pyramid’s current revenue ($46.5m last quarter) and will make up the bulk by next quarter. It hopes the 100 will fit the fastest-growing part of the commercial symmetric multiprocessing market, mid-range systems, starting at $155,000 to $350,000 where Sequent Computer Systems Corp, IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and AT&T Global Information Solutions are competitors. Pyramid has been expanding its direct sales force in the face of declining OEM income, which was down to 30.2% of revenue last quarter from 43.1% in the same period last year. Although it still counts Sharp Corp and Hyundai Electronics Co as OEM customers, the relationship with Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA is fading as the Italian firm moves to Alpha. It is negotiating with ICL Plc, which resells the Nile 150, to take the new 100 model as well – Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG takes Pyramid’s Unix. The Nile line will upgrade to the 200MHz R4400 when it arrives, next generations will use T5. Before that, Niles will be fitted with high-end backplanes using Pyramid’s forthcoming high-speed, highly-scalable interconnect bus technology, Meshine – the firm says Nile disk subsystems are already Meshine-ready. Specifically, it is working on a subsystem for back-up, disk management, and distributed RAID the backplane will process parallel queries and do back-end transaction processing, off-loading work from the central bus system. Meshine, due later this year, is expected to accommodate hundreds of CPUs and will feature in a new massively parallel system Pyramid is working on as well as in symmetric multiprocessing offerings. The firm has no plans to offer Sparc-based kit despite its close ties with Fujitsu Ltd’s ICL which is working with Pyramid on a single-image high-end database system combining its Sparc-based massively parallel Goldrush system with Nile. At the low end, Pyramid is reselling Siemens Nixdorf’s MIPS Technologies Inc RISC-based RM workstations into accounts as a Nile front-end, especially those running SAP AG R/3. It also has a new pact with Prism Solutions Inc on data warehousing.

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