Compagnie des Machines Bull SA and IBM Corp are negotiating a new technology development and marketing agreement around PowerPC that will be in place by the end of the summer. Now that IBM and Motorola Inc have gone their separate ways on PowerPC development, Bull says its future requirement will be met by IBM. However […]
Compagnie des Machines Bull SA and IBM Corp are negotiating a new technology development and marketing agreement around PowerPC that will be in place by the end of the summer. Now that IBM and Motorola Inc have gone their separate ways on PowerPC development, Bull says its future requirement will be met by IBM. However Bull says it will, at last, introduce new very high-end systems using the ill-fated 64-bit PowerPC 620 supplied to it by Motorola in September or October. To be announced imminently they’ll run IBM’s 64-bit AIX Unix. However as there is no roadmap for the development of future generations of PowerPC 620 parts – indeed no other company we know of is using it – Bull’s first 620 systems look like they’ll be its last as well. Bull COO Alain Couder said we have full commitment from Motorola to support the processor but there will be no follow on processor. IBM’s [64-bit] PowerPCs are binary compatible, so we will not have to recompile [applications] like other products. Bull developed a four-way PegaKid board for PowerPC 620 it had once hoped might attract the same kind of volume interest as Intel Cop’s SHV multiprocessor designs and has been trying to get the thing to market for at least two years. Although the 620 was designed by the IBM/Motorola Somerset PowerPC lab, IBM decided to build its own 64-bit AIX ‘Raven’ RS/6000 systems using a variant of the Apache PowerPC developed by its AS/400 division called RS64. Bull was left to soldier on alone with the 620. Bull already resells the S70 Raven models within its Escala server line along with other members of IBM’s RS/6000 SMP family, which are based upon technology known as Pegasus which was co-developed by Bull. Bull and IBM have already extended this agreement to cover development of a next generation of SMP technology and extensions to AIX to support ccNUMA. Bull’s own ccNUMA servers, originally slated for mid-year aren’t expected until later in the year as technical problems have hampered development, it said. Bull believes IBM is heavily reinvesting in PowerPC and with the Merced delays, IBM’s copper-based 1,000Mhz PowerPC will now arrive at the same time as Merced (CI No 3,341). Motorola’s strategy on the other hand is to get out of the system business now that Apple Computer Inc has dashed its hopes in that market by refusing to sanction Macintosh clones, and concentrate on PowerPC for the embedded market. IBM and Motorola will compete to sell Apple the PowerPC chips for new generations of Macs. Bull said that working with the IBM and Motorola on has been a big struggle. Apple, it said, wanted to Somerset to concentrate on the low end, while Bull and IBM wanted the design focus to be at the high end. At this point in time it is not possible to cover the whole range of applications with a single processor, Bull said. There are maybe three design points. Our plan was over ambitious but it was in line with Intel.