DEC gets off the fence and opts for Unix Labs’ Tuxedo as its Unix transaction monitor Last week Digital Equipment Corp stopped flirting with Unix System Laboratories Inc’s transaction processing monitor, Tuxedo, and officially became part of the club, a dyed-in-the-wool Tuxedo reseller in hot pursuit of the commercial user. Initially TPframe 1.0 is coupled […]
DEC gets off the fence and opts for Unix Labs’ Tuxedo as its Unix transaction monitor
Last week Digital Equipment Corp stopped flirting with Unix System Laboratories Inc’s transaction processing monitor, Tuxedo, and officially became part of the club, a dyed-in-the-wool Tuxedo reseller in hot pursuit of the commercial user. Initially TPframe 1.0 is coupled with DEC’s Ultrix/SQL relational database, incorporating technology from Ingres Corp, and client code to speed transaction processing application development. Currently it supports a single host system. DEC plans to offer a multiple-host distributed client-server version. The software runs on DECsystem 5100s, 5000s Models 200 and 240, 5500s and 5900s with pricing starting at $3,530. Proprietary language tools are expected. The company also introduced a high-capacity Ultrix RISC-based StorageServer 100 file server combining erasable optical and magnetic media with storage management software for a Network File System-run hierarchical storage management system. Total storage ranges from 20Gb to 125Gb with dynamic file partitioning. Most frequently accessed data is stored on the magnetic media and less frequently on the optical media with back-up also on the optical. The system does not need dedicated hardware because it uses a standard DECsystem server. Clients can include Unix machines, MS-DOS personal computers, Macs and VAXs. Pricing starts at $66,700.
Gigaswitch a reality: forthcoming product is planned to link 22 FDDI local networks
True to predictions, Digital Equipment Corp has unveiled plans for its Giga-switch hub which, in its first incarnation, will connect up to 100Mbps FDDI networks and is claimed to have the raw capacity to switch 3.6Gbps (CI No 1,925). Due to arrive within a year – currently the switch is the subject of a positioning paper – the switch is intended to link the company’s forthcoming Alpha machines, VAXs, and personal computer local networks into very fast star topology networks. The Giga-switch is DEC’s entry into the bandwidth wars which are currently raging. Everyone is trying to squeeze the last available drop of capacity from existing technologies. So, while the likes of 3Com Corp suggest private Ethernet – making the most of the standard by connecting each device to a hub via its own private segment of 10Mbps local network – DEC’s new baby does something conceptually similar, except that the transmission medium is running at 100Mbps over fibre optic cabling. As can be appreciated, when 22 FDDI networks converge there is the possibility of a bottleneck forming and it is the high speed switch technology that DEC has built which avoids this, and of which it is inordinately proud. At the heart of the Giga-switch will be three Cross Bar Switch chips designed and manufactured at the company’s Hudson, Massachusetts facility. The three chips are used to implement a 36 non-blocking switching matrix instead of the more conventional backplane usually used in hubs. The other claimed advantage of the Cross Bar technology is unusually small latencies – that is the delay introduced by switch. The Gigaswitch, says DEC, can already have sent the front half of a packet on its way, while the back half is still trundling in. Which would sound impressive were it not that most Ethernet hubs can do the same. Nonetheless, the company reckons that the switch fabric is capable of establishing up to 6.25m different connections per second, which in practical terms means that it is more than capable of supporting 22 FDDI local networks. DEC is saying that we should expect to see a 36-port version come out later and, for real power freaks, four Giga-switches can be clustered together. Whether or not there is demand for this kind of power is always open to debate, but DEC says that it already has users that are nudging on the upper limits of the FDDI networks they currently possess. It is also keen on enabling its users to extend their VAXclusters, by linking them across multiple FDDI connections. Apart from FDDI traffic the Giga-switch is being designed
to cope with T3 (44.7Mbps) and E3 (34.4Mbps) wide area connections, and multiprotocol routing for local networks. The whole kit and kaboodle will be managed through either an SNMP agent – it’s amazing the heights to which SNMP aspires these days – through a dedicated console port, or thirdly by DEC’s own VMScluster management software. The company is also implying that the box should be swiftly reconfigurable so that storage devices, for example, can be logically attached to different networks. Price and availability remain mere twinkles in a developer’s eye.
DEC jumps into mobile market with RAM, BellSouth, and has further fish to fry
Following IBM Corp’s display of intense interest in mobile communications, Digital Equipment Corp has decided to go the same way. DEC in the US is teaming with RAM Mobile Data and BellSouth Corp on using the Mobitex radio network to enable portable computer users to send and receive electronic mail messages, as reported briefly (CI No 1,925). DEC will offer two-way wireless electronic mail to the 3m users of its All-In-1 office system in the US and in other countries where RAM Mobile and BellSouth plan Mobitex nets, among them the UK, where the link should be up and running in the first quarter of 1993. DEC also announced its new DECmobile programme, under which the company becomes a RAM systems integrator for RAM Mobile and intends to act as a single point of contact, offering complete implementations for those embarking on a mobile lifestyle. There are also mutterings that the company is considering a similar tie-up with Mobitex rival Ardis, used in the UK by Hutchison Mobile data. But DEC is not placing all its eggs in the specialised mobile data basket. At DECworld the company was showing a system designed for passing data over the conventional cellular network. Communications Week International reports that the company has been working with NEC Corp on a project similar to the RAM scheme, but using the analogue cellular network rather than packet data. While the approach has the advantage of a large potential user base, its limitations were demonstrated by the maximum data rate of 2,400bps. Whether the system ever gets to market is still open to debate. The two companies were apparently using the show to gauge the demand.