View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
August 16, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Intel Corp’s ubiquitous Standard High Volume Pentium Pro boards are quickly spawning a market for commodity Unix symmetric multiprocessing server technology. Data General Corp last week added Unisys Corp to its growing roster of ccNUMA cache-coherent Non-Uniform Memory Access acolytes, a list that rival Sequent Computer Systems Inc must be eyeing jealously. Sequent’s problem is that its NUMA-Q doesn’t support UnixWare. While Unisys is the latest convert to Data General’s variant of NUMA system design, the traffic is not all one way. Unisys has licensed its 533Mbps Synchronous Coherent Memory bus and Sierra Pro ASICs to Data General for use in symmetric multiprocessing servers. Unisys will use Data General’s cc-NUMA backplane design and software plus Scalable Coherent Interface boards to link Intel’s four-way Standard High Volume boards in a future series of symmetric multiprocessing servers, but not in the ClearPath 61000 symmetric multiprocessors, which use the incompatible Synchronous Coherent Memory bus. Unisys won’t ship its first ccNUMA servers until Santa Cruz Operation Inc comes out with a ccNUMA-enabled version of its Gemini UnixWare-OpenServer combination; Unisys says it should be able to deliver systems towards the end of next year. Data General’s cc-NUMA, Pentium Pro-based AViiON servers are due around the year-end running DG-UX and supporting Clariion RAID storage. Unisys’s cc-NUMA servers will run Gemini Unix (or whatever it is called by then) and support its own storage systems. They will target different vertical markets. Unisys uses Synchronous Coherent Memory to create mix-and-match non-NUMA Clear-Path 61000 symmetric multiprocessing servers with up to 10 Intel CPUs. Synchronous Coherent Memory works in conjunction with Unisys’s Sierra-Pro ASIC set which adds a third level of cache memory on the motherboard.

Hardware abstraction layer

Data General’s current design has a third level cache on a separate board. The company will use Synchronous Coherent Memory and Sierra-Pro to build Pentium Pro versions of its eight-way, non-NUMA Pentium-based AV5800 servers. Data General says it s imply wasn’t practical to upgrade its own bus architecture to support Pentium Pro. Meantime, Unisys will offer Pentium Pro versions of its one-to-10 way Clear-Path 61000 symmetric multiprocessing servers from Oct-ober or November. A hardware abstrac tion layer will enable it to run Windows NT 4.0 on the things. Unisys says the six- and eight-way 61000s with NT it will sell from December or January, will be way ahead of most iAPX-86-based NT designs, which are restricted to a maximum of four pro cessors. It explains that Synchronous Coherent Memory is Unisys’s own implementation of the Scalable Coherent Interface specification defined by the Audio Group. Audio was named for the initials of its members – AT&T Global Information Solutions – now, mercifully, NCR Corp again, Unisys, Data General, ICL Plc and Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA. Back in 1994 the quintet was in league with Intel pursuing development of P6 and P7 interconnect and investigating the longevity of symmetric multi-processors versus the volume potential of parallel processors. Unisys Synchronous Coherent Memory was designed to support multiple operating systems with no re-architecting, hence its forthcoming support for eight-way NT via a hardware abstraction layer. It w as also able to get Synchronous Coherent Memory to market two years ago. Unisys and NCR went the big bus route, while Sequent and Data General used the specification in their NUMA bus designs. At the same time, Unisys also finally inked its Big E agreement with Santa Cruz on future Unix development and for the OEM Gemini product on which it will major. It says that in future all of its Unix development work will be carried out in conjunction with Santa Cruz. Unisys’s own Unix System V.4.MP implementation will give way to Santa Cruz’s OEM product over time, although System V.4.MP will be supported until the end of the century. UnixWare 2.1 is now up on all of Unisys’s ClearPath symmetric multiprocessing servers. Unisys and Data General say their cc-NUMA and symmetric multiprocessing designs will beat competing RISC systems on price-performance. Unisys set a benchmark record of 6,253 tpmC ($303.80 per tpmC) running Oracle7 7.3.2 on a 10-way 150MHz Pentium server running Santa Cruz UnixWare 2.1, the largest Intel TPC-C number to date.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.