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October 12, 1998

SEQUENT SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON IA-64 PLANS

By CBR Staff Writer

Following in the footsteps of other vendors of high-end Intel Corp servers, Sequent Computer Systems Inc says it will deliver new generations of 32-bit systems alongside new products using the 64-bit Merced chip. Sequent says it will offer mid-range Merced servers with four to 16 CPUs running Windows NT or Unix. Sequent is currently engineering NT to run across its ccNUMA servers which use a distributed shared memory architecture currently eschewed by Microsoft. It says its high-end NumaCenter servers, with upwards of 16 CPUs will also run Unix or NT on any combination of CPUs. It doesn’t say whether 32-bit and 64-bit processors can be accommodated within a single system. These are the servers Compaq Computer Corp is to OEM from around 2000 under an agreement reached with DEC before its acquisition by the Texas-based PC maker. Sequent will be running a different version of Unix on its Merced systems than on the 32-bit models and it’s still unclear how much migration and porting work will be required for ISVs and customers to move their 32-bit applications to Merced. That’s because Sequent will use a new version of DEC’s 64-bit Digital Unix ported to Merced which incorporates features of its current 32-bit Dynix/ptx Unix operating system and other high-end functionality supplied by partners in the development project currently known as Bravo Unix. Compaq’s other sibling, Tandem Computers, is also providing technology to the project, which is supposed to be getting a new name, additional partners and a formal public airing, though we’ve been waiting for months now. Sequent says 32-bit and 64-bit systems will co-exist for several years. á

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