ICL Plc has decided to scrap the idea of building its own symmetric multiprocessing systems based around Pyramid Technology Corp’s R bus technology and instead is going to sell the San Jose, California-based company’s Nile server family on an original equipment manufacturer basis (CI No 2,342). ICL says that be adopting this stategy it will […]
ICL Plc has decided to scrap the idea of building its own symmetric multiprocessing systems based around Pyramid Technology Corp’s R bus technology and instead is going to sell the San Jose, California-based company’s Nile server family on an original equipment manufacturer basis (CI No 2,342). ICL says that be adopting this stategy it will be able to get machines to market quicker than it would if it was developing them itself, while Pyramid says that its traditional policy has been to work with original equipment manufacturer partners in Europe that understand the local market. The two companies have been working together on an informal basis for the past year, primarily in the UK, with Pyramid supplying its high-end boxes as and when they were needed by ICL customers. But Pyramid says that the stage has now been reached where it makes sense to formalise the arrangement. The deal commences straight away and will initially stand for slightly longer than a year, although it is renewable thereaf-ter. It is also valid worldwide, apart from the US – the only direct sales force ICL has there is a retail operation, for which Nile servers would not be appropriate. Elsewhere, the two companies tend to sell into different markets. ICL specialises in the public sector, utilities and financial services – as well as retail – while Pyramid focusses on the commercial market. ICL’s initial plan is to rebadge and sell the machines as a downsizing alternative to its mainframes – its mainframe revenues have declined this year by about 10% although long-term, it does envisage the general purpose Nile machine being implemented as a client to its massively parallel database server, the Sparc-based Goldrush. The company says that it has no plans to take Pyramid’s forthcoming super-large Meshine however, and business development manager of corporate systems Peter Slavid does not consider the product as a rival offering to Goldrush: Symmetric multiprocessing and massively parallel processing are not competitive. Long-term, there is a very good case for their co-existing – 95% of the time, it will be obvious when a symmetric or massively parallel machine is the more appropriate avenue. This view was also backed up by Pyramid. But the two companies do not intend to end their agreement here. Both of them are keen to learn from each other’s technology – ICL is interested in exploiting Pyramid’s knowledge of Unix symmetric multiprocessing, while Pyramid stands to gain from tapping into ICL’s mainframe expertise. So, they intend to work together on a development level, taking bits and bobs from each other software and hardware in such areas as database archiving, file storage and systems management. Announcements to this end are expected to be forthcoming by the end of the first quarter of this year, ICL said.