IBM Corp has made no secret of its the fact that it believes that super-fast communications will be essential to the medium-term success of machines like the RS/6000, and the company has turned to one of the pioneers, San Jose, California-based Ultra Network Technologies Inc. It is to resell Ultra’s high speed network connections for […]
IBM Corp has made no secret of its the fact that it believes that super-fast communications will be essential to the medium-term success of machines like the RS/6000, and the company has turned to one of the pioneers, San Jose, California-based Ultra Network Technologies Inc. It is to resell Ultra’s high speed network connections for both mainframes and the RS/6000. Ultra also added two new products for the IBM market, the UltraNet RS/6000np network processor, which provides off-board generation of the TCP/IP protocols; and striping of standard Block Multiplexor Channels for enhanced network performance on IBM mainframes. IBM will resell the two products as part of its Cluster Service Offering, which prepackages RS/6000 workstations, hardware and software from IBM and third-party companies with IBM support services. The UltraNet RS/6000 Network Processor is claimed to deliver effective application performance in excess of four times that of a standard block multiplexor mainframe channel, and an order of magnitude faster than other RS/6000 network connections such as Ethernet, Token Ring and FDDI – in other words it runs at 1Gbps or over 100Mbytes per second, coming close to matching network bandwidth with computer bandwidth. Ultra sees the link being used to connect RS/6000s to ES/9000 mainframes for applications so that the workstation can analyse large mainframe-resident data sets, and for clustering RS/6000s. It also sees it being used to connect RS/6000s to supercomputers and massively parallel processors for pre- or post-processing in seismic analysis, computational fluid dynamics and molecular modelling. The RS/6000np occupies a single RS/6000 slot and provides full-duplex 250Mbps fibre optic or coaxial cable serial connection to an UltraNet networking hub. Ships start next month; a single adaptor is $6,500; package pricing for a workgroup of four, including adaptor hardware, software and networking hub, is under $10,000 per workstation. The other product, Channel Striping or inverse multiplexing, is a software feature now available with Ultra’s standard Block Multiplexer Channel network adaptors, which enables users to access and transfer mainframe data over multiple input-output channels in parallel to a TCP/IP network. The company says that striping and off-host processing of network protocols results in sustained network data rates in excess of 100Mbps, without significant mainframe CPU loading. It suggests that historically, moving significant data sets between mainframes and workstations in real time has not been possible so that client-server distributed computing has been of limited success, restricted to programs requiring only the smallest amounts of shared data. In an MVS environment, user data rates in excess of 10M-bytes per second are seen with four channels striped. The Channel Striping option for the BMCnp is available immediately at $28,800 for one to four channels, and $31,200 for five to eight channels.