National Advanced Systems jumped the gun on Comparex Computer Systems GmbH and announced Hitachi’s answer to the IBM 3090 S models yesterday; Comparex launches tomorrow. The existing low end VL and top-end XL are merged into a new AS/EX range, with prices rising linearly with performance. The AS/EX comes in 15 models, the 10 to […]
National Advanced Systems jumped the gun on Comparex Computer Systems GmbH and announced Hitachi’s answer to the IBM 3090 S models yesterday; Comparex launches tomorrow. The existing low end VL and top-end XL are merged into a new AS/EX range, with prices rising linearly with performance. The AS/EX comes in 15 models, the 10 to 40 succeeding the VLs, the 50 to 100 the XLs, with a 20:1 performance spread bottom to top. The 10 to 40 need only new microcode to upgrade, the 50 to 100 a processor swapout and microcode. The new processor cycles at 16.5nS, down from 18nS, although the Hitachi architecture allows an instruction to be executed every half cycle, said NAS, giving the equivalent of a 10nS cycle. The top-end AS/EX 100 can have up to 2Gb real memory and 1.9Gb expanded against 512Mb and 2Gb respectively from IBM, and claims the machine should perform as well as a 3090-600S with the same memory complement, faster on some workloads with 2Gb real storage. NAS also says it will be charging about the same for real storage as IBM does for expanded, roughly half the price and promised ESA for delivery third quarter 1989, one year after general availability from IBM. It has also joined IBM in copying the Amdahl innovation for physically partitioning mainframes. Called Logical Partitioning Facility, it competes with IBM’s PR/SM, and Amdahl’s widely installed Multiple Domain Facility. NAS added that both PR/SM and its own product are event driven and do not split into specified time slices, claiming this makes them a little more efficient. LPF will cost UKP60,000 for a single processor and twice that for a dyadic, triadic or the quad AS/EX 100. Some users taking XL delivery since January have received the new CPU, so on these machines, the new facilities can be activated with new microcode and minor hardware changes; the new CPUs are available now. The Hitachi strategy at the top end is clear, with the purchase price of the AS/EX 100 around UKP6m; NAS reckons that to get the full performance out of an IBM 3090-600S running the MVS/ESA Enterprise Systems Architecture, you need 512Mb real memory and the same of expanded storage, and that to upgrade to this from a typical IBM 3090-400E will cost around UKP6m anyway. NAS argues that users should keep the 400E and take the equivalent of a 600S for the price of the upgrade. NAS has also introduced an AS/Control Facility Storage, hardware and software that operates NAS disks at remote locations via National Semiconductor microprocessors, enabling them to be turned on and off. No prices were given for the facility.