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February 3, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Specialix Systems Ltd, the Covent Garden-based high tech marketing start-up founded by refugees from Rair Ltd, is clearly a company to watch. Following a $5m distribution deal with MicroWay Inc in the US for Chase Research’s AT8 multi-user intelligent controller board, to which Specialix has exclusive marketing rights (CI No 503), Specialix has now won a UKP400,000 order for the Chase product from Honeywell Bull (Germany) and been awarded exclusive European and Middle Eastern rights to a range of continuous and automatic tape back-up systems for IBM-compatible Personal Computers developed and manufactured by Digital Storage Systems Inc of Colorado. The German order is for nearly 300 boards, to convert Honeywell Bull’s AT-alike Micral 60s into five- to 10-user machines running under Xenix System V, and forms part of Honeywell Bull’s major contract to computerise tax offices around Dusseldorf for the German Ministry of Finance. The Digital Storage Systems’ Automatic Recovery and Control 8000 and 9000 series of tape back-up products are, according to DSS sales director George Alexander, designed to ensure that mechanical and electrical faults in the Personal, user errors or sheer forgetfulness, do not lead to the erasure or corruption of data. As the user writes each record to disk, a duplicate record with time and date stamp is automatically written to the ARC tape unit. Damaged or overwritten disk files can, therefore, be recreated in the form in which they stood at any given moment. The ARC 8000, which incorporates digital cassette tape, is available in 20 and 40Mb versions starting at UKP1,595 while the catridge tape ARC 9000 features 60Mb of tape storage and up to 80Mb of hard disk capacity in a half-height drive. Both the 8000 and 9000 are based on a Z80H microprocessor and have a 5Mbps SCSI interface. A 128Kb buffer stores data while it is written to tape at 90Kbps. The control software takes up 6Kb of the Personal’s memory. Specialix managing director Les Pilkington says the data security, and audit facilities provided by the date and time stamp, make the product attractive to financial institutions and major corporates. The company will be setting up a UK direct marketing operation for the several thousand sales Pilkington expects in year one but the ARC series will also be sold through dealers supplied by Northamber Plc.

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