Siemens Nixdorf Informationssyteme AG has duly launched what it claims is the first mainframe to use off-the-shelf 64-bit RISCs – initially the MIPS Technologies Inc R4400, although the R10000 is in the plan – and thus be able to run both mainframe and Unix applications. The SR2000 Business Server will enable users of Siemens’ BS2000/OSD mainframe operating system to run their existing mainframe applications unchanged, while also running what the company terms ‘selected’ Unix applications and middleware. One of the first applications on the SR2000 is SAP AG’s R/3 business administration software, which should be available by the middle of the year. The SR2000 will use up to four processors, and its arrival means the company will able to abandon the much more expensive mainframes it buys from Fujitsu Ltd – M-series IBMulators microcoded with the BS2000 instruction set – for which it had an OEM agreement (CI No 2,348). The Paderborn, Germany company says at the beginning of next year, it will release a mainframe using up to 15 of the higher end MIPS R10000 RISCs – the Fujitsu machines never went anything like as high as 15 processors. The SR2000 is constructed from the same building blocks as the company’s RM600 Unix servers, and will use standard Unix devices and network connection components as peripherals. Siemens says this gives the user the best of both the mainframe and Unix worlds: dependability and operational reliability of the mainframe with the innovations and efficiency of the proven 64-bit architecture. Customers will get the BS2000/OSD operating system with additional software products to enhance functionality in a package called the Server Value Package. It will come with basic functions for the simultaneous execution of transaction processing, interactive and batch applications. The new mainframe generation will be available in the spring in five different models, the SR2000 A1 through to A5. Prices for the A1 are from $114,000.