Sybase Intermedia up on Interactive Video Server Hewlett-Packard Co has won Emeryville, California-based Sybase Inc over to its Interactive Video Server and television set-top boxes: Sybase will put its Intermedia modular family of software products designed for building and delivering interactive multimedia services up on the server and terminal boxes: the Intermedia products consist of […]
Sybase Intermedia up on Interactive Video Server
Hewlett-Packard Co has won Emeryville, California-based Sybase Inc over to its Interactive Video Server and television set-top boxes: Sybase will put its Intermedia modular family of software products designed for building and delivering interactive multimedia services up on the server and terminal boxes: the Intermedia products consist of the Intermedia Server, Gain Momentum, and Gain Interplay and are designed to provide a complete environment for building and delivering interactive multimedia applications and services. The Intermedia Server design is based on Sybase’s SQL Server relational database management system and provides control and message integration. The control service stores and manages information about multimedia data objects, such as names, and locations of movies or product descriptions. The message integration service provides routing of requests to and from the components of the system, including back-end business systems for billing and subscriptions. Gain Momentum is Sybase’s multimedia authoring environment for developing visual, intuitive, and entertaining applications – surely that last aspect depends more on the creativity of the author than the nature of the software used.
Gain Momentum can access and manipulate data from Sybase and other databases. Gain Interplay is the run-time environment designed to enable interactive multimedia applications to be played on low-cost, low-memory, hardware devices such as the 8088-based set-top boxes developed by Hewlett-Packard. The latter says its Interactive Video Server is designed from the ground up to produce the lowest possible cost per video stream, achieved by using a video transfer engine technology rather than processing-based technology of computer servers. The video transfer engine is designed to optimise streaming of compressed video data for large-scale interactive applications involving from 100 to 10,000 simultaneous subscribers. The HP 9000-based video server comprises control system, video transfer engine and storage system.
New release 5.0 of MPE/iX takes several steps towards commonality with Unix, retaining existing features
The latest release of Hewlett-Packard Co’s proprietary HP 3000 operating system, MPE/iX Version 5.0, is ready to go, and adheres to the company’s enlightened policy of bringing it closer to Unix with every release, so that customers that want to make the switch find it ever easier while those that don’t still get more and more of the benefits available to Unix users while retaining the robust and mature features of MPE. The company confirms that MPE/iX 5.0 provides increased client-server and open systems capabilities through new networking functionality and an enhanced Posix interface, as well as further enhancements for ease-of-use and disaster-tolerance. Posix is frequently dismissed as such a low level interface that Posix compliance does not mean much, but it seems to be working for Hewlett, which says that the more fully-featured Posix interface is helping more software developers to convert their applications for the HP 3000 – and it points to applications from Coda Plc of Leeds, Oracle Corp and Point Man from Spectrum, whoever Spectrum is – it’s a name shared by a whole string of companies and products, but it could be Spectrum Concepts Inc, which is now part of Legent Corp. MPE/iX 5.0 provides support for a number of additional, standard networking technologies, including support for Novell Inc NetWare/iX Version 3.11A to enable HP 3000 software applications to access data, share files and use printer resources on personal computer local networks. It also supports AppleTalk so that MPE/iX 5.0-based HP 3000s can act as servers to Macintoshes with seamless links to Mac systems, files and directories; multimedia support; full access to Macintosh API libraries; and support for Posix and Streams on the Macintosh. Support for IBM Corp’s SNA/Token Ring, FDDI, SNMP, Berkeley Sockets and TCP/IP is enhanced. There is also new support for Microsoft Cor
p’s Open Data Base Connectivity so that Windows applications can access, manipulate and write data stored by the Image/SQL relational database on the HP 3000. It also supports the new Version G.0 of the Allbase/SQL high-end relational database manager, which features Open Data Base Connectivity and ANSI ’92 standards compatibility and better links to Image/SQL.
As quickly as two weeks
The new Posix interface, coupled with other features, enables developers to convert Unix applications for the HP 3000 quickly and economically – in some cases, as quickly as two weeks. Hewlett uses the industry weasel word port – intended to make it sound like a simple recompilation, rather than convert, but in our book something that takes two weeks is a conversion – and does it include testing? Posix for MPE/iX 5.0 also improves software interoperability and enables application data to be shared seamlessly between different kinds of computer, the company asserts, adding that the Posix interface is highly integrated with MPE/iX 5.0 and is virtually transparent to current HP 3000 system managers and end users, and a Posix computer-based training program is bundled with MPE/iX 5.0. The company notes that as a result of the new interface, one customer is able to store and back up engineering blueprints and work files for the metal products it creates on HP-UX-based workstations on the HP 3000, to provide easy access for clients. The disaster-tolerant qualities of MPE/iX are enhanced with an integrated Threshold Manager function, and system availability has been further increased by Memory Page Deallocation. Performance has been increased through support for native-mode message files, which can more than double system performance for applications that use message files extensively for interprocess communication, the company says. Performance of Unix converted for HP 3000 has been increased by up to 30% by reducing the overhead required to support character-mode terminals under MPE/iX 5.0, Hewlett says. System-management enhancements include features such as the SETCLOCK command, Security Monitor, CD-ROM support, host control of DDS data compression, the SPIFF print-management utility, support for new hardware and transparent back-up of Posix applications, the company adds. Systems expected to ship this month with the new release are the high-end HP 3000 Corporate Business System Model 991 and the mid-level HP 3000 Series 987/200. The new release, out this week, is free for current MPE/iX customers with valid Hewlett-Packard support contracts.