Fault-tolerant systems manufacturer Stratus Computer Inc will join the exodus out of the Intel Corp 80860 RISC camp after one more iteration and has decided to switch to the Hewlett-Packard Co Precision Architecture RISC. The Marlborough, Massachusetts-based company will use Precision Architecture in future high-end machines which it plans to roll out in 1994 or […]
Fault-tolerant systems manufacturer Stratus Computer Inc will join the exodus out of the Intel Corp 80860 RISC camp after one more iteration and has decided to switch to the Hewlett-Packard Co Precision Architecture RISC. The Marlborough, Massachusetts-based company will use Precision Architecture in future high-end machines which it plans to roll out in 1994 or 1995. The news comes just days before Stratus is due to take the lid off a nest of new symmetric multiprocessing systems built around the Intel 80860XP RISC (CI No 1,946). As many as eight new models are expected on July 13, which according to insiders, will go well beyond dual-processor arrangements. Stratus currently uses Intel’s 80860XR RISC in its XA/R line – the XR part has no cache-coherency and doesn’t support symmetrical multi-processing – and Motorola Inc’s 68030 in its eight-way XA2000 multi-processors. The company scapped an original plan to use Motorola’s 88000 RISC part back in 1989 in favour of the 80860, a decision that Stratus may now be regretting. Its beating a path to Hewlett-Packard Co’s door seems to indicate the final demise of Intel’s 80860 as a mainstream system-level CPU. Alliant Computer Inc, which used the 80860 in high-end parallel systems recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Defending its latest manoeuvre, Stratus says the move from complex instruction set to RISC was difficult, RISC to RISC is straightforward by comparison. Hewlett-Packard is currently designing its own fault-tolerant systems around the Precision Architecture RISC using the technology of Stratus’ deadly rival, Sequoia Systems Inc – Hewlett currently re-badges the Sequoia boxes as its HP 9000 Series 1200s – though it says its agreement with Stratus will not affect the relationship with Sequoia, where it is a shareholder. Stratus will continue to build 80860- and 68000-based systems up until the 1994-95 timeframe – possibly beyond – and plans at least one more iteration of the XA/R line before that. Additional input-output, memory and disk enhancements are also planned. Stratus fault-tolerant systems, which are re-badged by a host of companies, including IBM Corp as the System/88, and Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA as CPS, expects the various OEM arrangements it has to carry on through into its Hewlett-Packard era. Although Stratus faces growing competition from Hewlett in its own markets, it says the latter has guaranteed equal access to the Precision Architecture chip – a level playing field. Stratus’ endorsement further bolsters the credibility of Precision Architecture and its 7100 iteration, which Stratus will probably be using. The new machines will run both its proprietary VOS and its FTX System V.4-based fault-tolerant Unix and it will look at Microsoft Corp’s Windows NT, and applications will be compatible across all the three hardware environments.