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PYRAMID TECHNOLOGY, RELATIONAL DATABASES, OFFICE AUTOMATION – AND 25% 9805 PRICE CUT

Pyramid Technology Inc, Mountain View, California, has been keeping the wires buzzing with product announcements over the past two or three weeks, recasting its product line, spreading its favours around the relational database management systems fraternity, and putting together an integrated office automation offering for its reduced instruction set minis with the help of Uniplex Ltd here in the UK (CI No 779).

Reconfigured low-end system On the hardware front, Pyramid has reconfigured and repriced its entry-level 9805 system because it brought out the original system earlier than it had intended – it has now improved its manufacturing techniques. The new features for the 9805 include expanded memory and a choice of three different disk drives. The 9805 cost $139,000 when it was introduced last year for 4Mb memory and a 470Mb disk drive. The new 9805 comes with 8Mb memory with a choice of a 300 or 470Mb or 1.1Gb disk drive. The only model available now is the 8Mb system with the 470Mb disk drive and is priced at $112,000. The 300Mb drive version is available on 90 days’ delivery for $106,650. The 1.1Gb system will be available later this month at $122,850.

Sybase and transactions Pyramid has also been examining on-line database performance. The race for faster rates of transactions per second for on-line applications has reportedly led DEC to begin looking at a new hardware architecture, and to begin embedding the functionality of its ACMS transaction processing software, currently rated at six to seven tps, into the VMS operating system. This necessity to rethink general-purpose systems for fast, online database performance has been underlined by the unveiling of the results of that PyramidSybase OEM agreement, first announced at the Very Large Database Exhibition in Brighton in September. Pyramid long ago decided to attack the database market, striking up deals with the big four database companies, and even organising its own database show at the bleak Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith last April. But the Sybase deal apparently involved nine months of co-operative engineering between the two companies, resulting in the five system Pyramid R*TP range of specially modified Series 9000 hardware packaged with the Sybase Inc database manager and development products. Initial performance estimates give a throughput of 10 tps on the low-end Model 50, and up to 75 tps for the top-of-the-line Model 400, but Pyramid’s UK Managing Director David Thornley predicted that this could rise to 100 tps once low-level tuning of the operating system had been completed. Both Pyramid and Sybase would be selling on the systems as a complete package. RT*P systems employ a requester/server approach, which separates back-end database functionality from front-end user application logic and presentation. This enables networked personal workstations to be used as requesters to the Pyramid database server. The major modifications took place in the operating system, OSx, which now works closely with the Sybase back-end Dataserver to create a transaction processing kernel for high transaction rates. Pyramid claims that OSx still retains full upward compatibility and adheres to the Unix standard.

Oracle and the top tier But Pyramid is not turning its back on its other relational partners, and has upgraded its OEM agreement with Oracle Corp, Belmont, California with a major addendum valued at over $1m in products and services. According to the Mountain View company, it elevates Pyramid to the top tier of Oracle’ system partners and provides for co-operative development, marketing, sales training and support to increase the company’s share of commercial data processing applications. The announcement was made at Federal Computer Conference in Washington at the end of last month. Oracle is providing Pyramid with OEM support, which it can use to provide 24-hour, level one support to customers using Oracle in business-critical applications. And Oracle is buying a four- processor Pyramid 9840 system to take over running of its sales database. The m

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arket for online transaction processing, according to Pyramid chairman Richard Lussier, should amount to $20m by 1990. Some users will have a requirement for fault tolerant capabilities – hence the similar technology exhange between Sybase and Stratus – but the majority will be large customers looking for alternatives to dedicated database hardware or mainframes, a more costly alternative according to Lussier. The scenario suits a company now returning to profitability after poor figures last year. Lussier identified Pyramid hardware as more competitive at the high-end, and said that the company was moving away from reliance on single sales to larger deals from customers buying multiple machines. Software revenue from the Sybase agreement would not be big, he said, but would stimulate the closing of just those types of deal.

Pyramid OfficeCentral As for the office automation products, the new Pyramid OfficeCentral is made up of what the company calls Core Products, a set of tightly integrated products that provide basic office functions; and Premier Products, specialised software for users requiring expanded functionality. The Core Products provide a consistent user interface across both personal workstations and terminals, with consistent keystrokes across its component modules, which include word processing, spreadsheet, diary, mail, database, forms and graphics. The Premier Products configured into OfficeCentral offer options such as legal word processing and presentation graphics. Personal workstations, such as MS-DOS machines and Apple Macintoshes, can be networked into OfficeCentral and provide front-end processing for batch jobs such as text formatting or can run their own software and use the Pyramid for central filing and back-up. Pyramid says it has sold nearly 100 systems for office automation using applications from its third-party software program, but OfficeCentral is the first office automation package it will support and sell. The Core Products are enhanced versions of Uniplex II Plus version 6.0 from Redwood, the word processing Premier Product is Tigera Corp’s WordEra. Pyramid OfficeCentral is out November 30 and prices go from $8,000 to $25,000, according to hardware configuration.


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CBR Staff Writer

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