IBM builds on promising start with its biggest RS/6000 hardware, software launch yet Alongside a raft of AIX software, IBM duly unveiled its latest RS/6000 workstation and server models yesterday. The hardware side comprised five new machines, including the long-awaited entry-level 220 system, the first – and so far the only member of the AIX […]
IBM builds on promising start with its biggest RS/6000 hardware, software launch yet
Alongside a raft of AIX software, IBM duly unveiled its latest RS/6000 workstation and server models yesterday. The hardware side comprised five new machines, including the long-awaited entry-level 220 system, the first – and so far the only member of the AIX RISC family to use the 33MHz, 1.2m device, single-chip implementation of the Rios RISC processor, which has featured so far only as an expensive six-chip set.
Desktop Model 200 is star of the show
The desktop Model 220 comes in a variety of guises – though 16Mb RAM is standard on all – including a low-end, diskless unit, with no monitor, that will sell for UKP2,772. The 220 performs at 25.9 SPECmarks – or 17.5 SPECint and 33.7 SPECfp, according to SPEC’s newest integer and floating-point benchmark suites (CI No 1,841) – and 6.5 MFLOPS. A more realistic entry-point for the diskless offering is UKP4,950, which includes a 19 monochrome screen and the Power Gt1 graphics adapter (available in three versions for the 220), or UKP4,960, which buys a 14 colour screen. By comparison, Hewlett-Packard Co’s newest Snake workstation, the diskless 705 (or Bushmaster Junior), is priced at $6,340 for 34 SPECmarks, 16Mb RAM and a 19 monochrome screen, whilst Sun Microsystems Inc’s diskless – and older – ELC is priced at $5,000 – UKP4,000 – for 20 SPECmarks, 8Mb RAM and a 17 mono screen. Moving on up the 220 range, the 22W, with 160Mb disk, 19 mono screen and Power Gt1 graphics is priced at UKP5,424 – that rises to UKP7,103 with the addition of a 19 colour screen. With 400Mb disk, Power Gt3 graphicsand a 19 colour screen , the price is UKP10,479. The competition here is Sun’s IPC, which, with 8Mb RAM, two 207Mb disks and a 17 mono screen, lists at $11,500 – UKP9,750 – for 24.6 SPECmarks, and HP 9000 710 Bushmaster, which, with 16Mb and 19 mono screen delivers 49.7 SPECmarks for $9,500 – UKP7,515. Each Model 220 is kitted out with Ethernet, SCSI and two Micro Channel slots. System memory can be expanded to 64Mb, maximum disk capacity goes to 4.6Gb and optional 3.5 floppy drives are also available. The 220 arrives in April, but only in limited quantities – volume in the second quarter.
Model 340 is desktop version of 530H
The RS/6000 Model 340 – a desktop version of the existing 530H uses the existing 33MHz Rios chipset. It’s rated at 56.6 SPECmarks – 28.8 SPECint and 88.7 SPECfp – and 14.8 MFLOPS. With 16Mb RAM, 160Mb disk, 19 colour screen, 4 Micro Channel slots and Power Gt3 graphics, it costs from UKP20,014. The Model 350, a desktop iteration of the 41.7MHz Model 550, performs at 71.4 SPECmarks – 36.2 SPECint and 112.3 SPECfp – and 18.6 MFLOPS. It comes with from 32Mb RAM: with 400Mb disk, a 23 colour screen, four Micro Channel slots and three-dimensional 24-bit PowerGraphics GTO 002, it costs from UKP45,866. The 340 and 350 arrive in March with 400Mb disks – April if configured with 160Mb disks. A deskside Model 520H – which replaces the existing 520 – uses a 25MHz Rios chip-set and performs at 43.5 SPECmarks – 21.8 SPECint and 68.9 SPECfp – and 11.5 MFLOPS. A 32-user model with 64Mb and 1.7Gb disk is priced at UKP42,064, available this month.At the top end, the Model 560 server uses a 50MHz CPU and is rated at 89.3 SPECmarks – 43.8 SPECint and 143.6 SPECfp and 30.5 MFLOPS. With 128Mb RAM and 16Gb disk, it costs from UKP214,960 in May.
NetView for AIX for mixed protocols
As expected, IBM also launched an extension of its NetView family for AIX. AIX NetView/6000 works in conjunction with NetView – IBM’s first generation network managment product – in a mixed protocol environment to correlate different sources of information at a single site, including support for SNA, NetBIOS, AppleTalk, TCP/IP and SNMP protocols. It also established the NS Vendor Enablement Programme ensuring that future hardware can be managed on the AIX NetView/6000 through SNMP management information bases; AIX NetView/6000 will be available from June 1992. But IBM’s first RS/6000-based multiprotocol mult
iport bridge-router, the 6611 Network Processor (see front), is not yet out in Europe.
New release of AIX, 3.2, conforms to Software Foundation Environment Spec
The new hardware was accompanied by a new release of IBM’s Unix, AIX Version 3.2, which now conforms to the Open Software Foundation’s Application Environment Specification, as well as X/Open and Posix 1003.1. It is also easier to use, faster, and can now support diskless and dataless workstations, FDDI and Block Multiplexor Channel adaptors. The new release can be used on existing models as well. AIX 3.2 also includes streams input-output support from Unix System V.4, and Xerox’s XNS protocol levels 1 and 2. IBM will support both the new release and the previous (3.1) until August 1992. 3.2 becomes available in February, with FDDI and Block Multiplexer support in March and diskless and dataless support in April. Also released was AIX NetWare/6000, allowing the RS/6000 to run as a network server for Novell NetWare client systems running MS-DOS, OS/2 and Windows applications – available February. Other software announced includes AIX InfoCrafter/6000 online information retrieval system, a new version (1.2) of the AIXwindows Environment/6000 including GKS, PHIGS, PEX and three-dimensional options, X11 Release 4, OSF/Motif, IXI Ltd’s X.desktop and Display PostScript. An AIXwindows Interface Composer, based on Motif, generates C code needed to implement the user interface for an appliication. IBM claims it has 5,000 leading applications now available for the RS/6000.
Hewlett-Packard’s SoftBench lays the foundation for AIX software engineering
IBM also claimed to be making its first steps towards bringing the separate worlds of Systems Application Architecture’s AD/Cycle and AIX software engineering more closely together yesterday, introducing a new CASE framework for AIX, configuration management and version control, and interoperability functionality with mainframe-based AD/Cycle library services. The framework is patterned after the European Computer Manufacturers Association reference model for open distributed software development, a model taken up recently by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. This defines three levels – visual, tool control and data. Visual is handled by using OSF/Motif throughout; tool control is through the new IBM SDE WorkBench/6000 and SDE Integrator/6000 offerings, including task management services, tool-to-tool services and tool integration services (based on Hewlett-Packard Co’s SoftBench Broadcast Message Server licensed from Hewlett last April); and data integration by supporting emerging standards, such as the ECMA Portable Common Tools Environment standard. The tools include a program editor, builder and debugger, software analysers, mail and file transfer services and software configuration support. A line-up of 27 CASE software developers said that they would support the framework. Configuration management and version control is covered by two products: AIX CMVC Server/6000 and CMVS Client/6000, with one CMVC server able to support multiple workstation clients. It users either the Informix or Oracle relational databases, and uses either the Unix SCCS utility or the PVCS Version Manager for AIX from Intersolv Inc. Customer demand has led to increased interoperability and commonality between its AIX CASE and AD/Cycle, says IBM, and accordingly it rolled out MVS Library Connector/6000, allowing AIX RS/6000 developers to connect to the IBM Software Configuration and Library Manager (SCLM) on MVS mainframes. And IBM also introduced the object-oriented AIX XL C++ Complier/6000. All should be available in May, except the Informix version of CMVC, due October.