Mainframe vendors hit BIG time

It’s big system-time this month as both Compaq and Unisys rolled out major new mainframe solutions. Compaq is aiming to revive its Unix and Alpha technologies.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

It’s big system-time this month as both Compaq and Unisys rolled out major new mainframe solutions.

Compaq is aiming to revive its Unix and Alpha technologies with a new high-level server release, which it expects to “double its Unix market share within target markets in the next three to four years”.

Compaq’s latest AlphaServer GS systems are being aimed at dot.coms, as well as telecommunications, high-performance technical computing and financial services.

“[This] announcement is another significant step in Compaq’s strategy to deliver the best Internet infrastructure to our customers,” said Georges Cassir, managing director, Compaq Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa.

“With more and more companies facing IT performance bottlenecks and shutdowns, the importance of the infrastructure has never been greater.

"Analysts estimate that 90% of this infrastructure has yet to be purchased-and those demands are causing us to rethink the way systems are architected, designed, developed, and deployed,” he added.

Software Partnering

Compaq has recruited one of its software partners, Oracle, as part of an e-business software partnering mechanism. “Specifically under Tru64 Unix, Oracle software, coupled with the power of Compaq’s AlphaServer GS series, creates one of the industry’s most robust and reliable platforms for e-business,” said Hussam Dajani, regional director, Oracle Middle East.

The new AlphaServers make us of a modular design what supports 8-way (AlphaServer GS80), 16-way (AlphaServer GS160), and 32-way (AlphaServer 320) configurations, based on the Alpha EV67 731MHz processor.

Compaq said that it has built in attributes in the architecture of the system, which are designed to scale, providing customers with headroom for growth, “however explosive or unpredictable”.

“[Being a dot.com today is to face problems which are] a bit like having people over for dinner and not knowing how many people are coming. You are asked how many, and you say, ‘I don’t know, maybe five, maybe 10, maybe 100,000’. How do you prepare for that?” said Cassir. “You have to be prepared for all eventualities,” he added.

Mainframe-class Servers

In the mean time, Unisys Middle East rolled out its mainframe-class ES7000 servers in anticipation of the promised summer launch of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Data Center Server operating system.

At the launch in Dubai, Unisys presented ES7000 partners in Microsoft, Intel, which proposed to unveil its Itanium 64-bit chip later this year, and EMC, which is rapidly emerging as a powerhouse in high-end storage solutions.

The ES7000, according to Unisys will come into its own when Itanium and Windows 2000 Data Center Server ship.

However, according to Christopher Des Forges, Unisys’ Africa, Eurasia and Middle East programme sales manager for the ES7000, the server is more powerful today than Sun Microsystems’ most powerful servers, even running Intel's IA-32 architecture.

“This is the first and only server of its kind in the market. Unisys integrates this mainframe-class server with Windows 2000 Data Center Server, high performance processors from Intel and fault tolerant, high-performance disk storage from EMC to satisfy the most demanding levels of scalability and availability for today’s e-business,” he said.

“This is a wake up call for Sun. We’re delivering a level of price/performance that is really going to shake-up the market,” said Des Forges.

“Expanding upon our own e-business initiatives, we see the new Windows 2000 Data Center Server as an ideal tool to allow companies to significantly speed up their e-business time to market on Intel Architecture and deliver state-of-the art e-business solution stacks to the market,” said Gilbert Lacroix, general manager of Intel Middle East and North Africa.

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