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April 2, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:07pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Tandem Computers Inc is looking to extend its ServerNet clustering technology into the world of Unix, and plans an announcement shortly. Tandem has been more actively pushing the ServerNet big bus interconnect scheme as a proposed standard ingredient for Windows NT clustering, and has been setting up OEM deals where it can, in advance of Microsoft Corp’s launch of its ServerNet-friendly Wolfpack clustering software, expected this June. Tandem is depending on ServerNet to bring it a much needed new cachet and to boost its growth, and wants to benefit as widely as possible from its research and development effort. According to the company’s chief executive and chief strategist Roel Pieper, the same product could be used generically for Unix, provided of course that a Wolfpack-like connection into Unix could be found, and provided too that the industry would deem the underlying Unix operating system hardy enough to support serious clustering. Therein lies one problem. Tandem has the stuff up and running on a version of Unix which Pieper, who used to run the Unix System Laboratories, described it as something close to Unix System V.4.2 with symmetric multi-processing support. Anyway, the closest thing to it on the open market is UnixWare, now owned by the Santa Cruz Operation Inc. And as we all know, many in the industry do not consider the basically low-end UnixWare implementation a serious robust system. Pieper’s other obvious problem is that NT and Unix clusters differ in such matters as how tightly or loosely coupled they are. If Tandem can’t do what it wants to do with ServerNet, another solution would be to tie up with somebody else’s technology and just call it ServerNet. Pieper suggests that he’s been talking to a number of companies about such a scheme, though there don’t appear to be that many in the field. One that he’s known to have been talking to recently is Dolphin Interconnect Solutions A/S, the Norwegian Scalable Coherent Interface specialist, whose technology is said to be capable of supporting 1,000 processors. Pieper went to Dolphin and is said to have suggested they form a joint venture that Tandem would ultimately take public. Dolphin’s initial hesitancy centered on how Tandem would safeguard Dolphin’s shareholders and deal with its current $90m market capitalization. Tandem is believed to have retreated to consider its options and it is unclear whether such a combine would attempt to blend the two distinct technologies together, a notion that was toyed with last year in circles such as I2O, the Intelligent Interface Organization. Naturally, both Tandem and Dolphin contest whose technology is the better.

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