Bracknell, Berkshire-based White Cross Systems Ltd will this month launch a parallel Transputer-based database server for business claimed to be capable of searching files twice as fast as the world’s largest mainframe. The minimum configuration of the new IDS/9010 desk-side server delivers the equivalent of 120 MIPS and is based on 12 T425 Transputers supported […]
Bracknell, Berkshire-based White Cross Systems Ltd will this month launch a parallel Transputer-based database server for business claimed to be capable of searching files twice as fast as the world’s largest mainframe. The minimum configuration of the new IDS/9010 desk-side server delivers the equivalent of 120 MIPS and is based on 12 T425 Transputers supported by 192Mb of memory in a single cabinet about the size of a Sun Microsystems Computer Corp’s Sparcserver. Its main strength is its ability to search data at speed from Structured Query Language requests. White Cross Systems claims it operates at a speed of 3m rows (records in a table) per second. By comparison, it says, the largest mainframe with all data loaded in memory and handling a transaction loda would manage only 60,000. Director of marketing Bill Porter said that with a conventional SQL database server, an office worker could ask almost any question of the database and the system might have to search the whole database to answer it. This can be hard for the system to cope with and the user gets an inconsistent response, sometimes its very slow. A parallel machine like ours is so fast it give a one, two or three second response. He added that the company chose the Transputer because it is a natural parallel processor with four communications links per chip, saving it the trouble of designing an interconnect itself. The entry level price for the IDS/9010 is ?120,000, which includes everything the customer needs to build the system: hardware, software, 6.8Gb of disk storage, and all interfaces, tools and utilities for software development. Standard interfaces include: Open Data Base Connectivity for Microsoft products, the SQL Acess Group’s application programming interface, SQL/CLI, and the International Standards Organisation’s Remote Database Access. A single cabinet – up to 10,000 cabinets can be linked together with fibre optics – can contain a maximum of 48 processors and 758Mb of memory and will deliver 480 MIPS. The larger IDS/9020 data centre system, which contains 5.8Gb memory and will deliver 3,600 MIPS, will be available by spring 1993. The company says that it intends to sell the server into the financial services, insurance, banking ad retail markets via sales agents that have Tandem Computers Inc, IBM Corp, Amdahl Corp and Teradata Corp product experience.
Agreement with NeXT
Porter said that by next year, White Cross hopes to have installed at least 30 systems, selling through both direct and the indirect channels. The potential, he said, is huge quoting Datapro’s figures for a $50,000m database server market by 1995. The company has also signed a joint agreement with Steve Jobs’ NeXT Computer Inc to develop a database application programming interface between White Cross servers and NeXT workstations, which is due in the middle of next year. The 25-person, privately-owned White Cross is busy setting up overseas operations: a Dallas, Texas office is due to open by the end of the year and a Far East office will follow in the first quarter of 1993. White Cross Systems was founded by the product’s inventor, John Hadgiannou, in 1987. The product had been offered to Teradata, but apparently did not fit into the company’s line. It nevertheless interested Teradata UK management enough to leave that company and invest in White Cross Systems. A management buy-in, largely by former Teradata employees, was supported by ?1.5m from venture capitalists Abingworth Plc and 3i Plc, earlier this year. The new managing director is Eric Lipscombe, former vice-president of Teradata UK and former managing director of Teradata Europe, other directors include Chris Delve, ex-Teradata Europe and Bill Baylef, ex-Teradata Far East. Hadgiannou is an executive director.