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SEQUENT TO UNVEIL SECOND GENERATION NUMA MACHINES.

Sequent Computer Systems Inc is set to announce details of its second generation Numa-Q 2000 multiprocessor servers this Monday, doubling the number of CPUs they support and using 400MHz Intel Pentium Xeon chips in place of the Pentium Pros they currently use (CI No 3,363). Sequent says that it's pleased to see its major competitors Sun Microsystems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp all now endorsing NUMA non-uniform memory architectures for multiprocessing systems, particularly as they haven't even begun shipping their first generation products as yet. The new servers gain a two-times performance boost through the Xeon chips with 1Mb level two caches (2Mb versions will follow), and another two-times boost by doubling the number of processors supported from 32 to 64. It has also upgraded the throughput and latency of its IQ-Link interconnect, by quadrupling the cache available and speeding up the bus. Sequent re-manufacturers Intel's SHV standard high volume quad processor modules, adding extra error correction, diagnostics, support for the IQ-Link and some extra layers on the board to support the scalability it requires for the Dynix operating system. Typically, nodes used for NT can be made cheaper by using SHV units direct from Intel, as NT doesn't support further scalability in any case, though NT will also run on the enhanced quads. Sequent has also added end-to-end fibre channel support to the new systems from the adapters on the system bus right through to the disk subsystem. Previously a bridge between fibre and the SCSI adapter was required, adding overhead. Sequent, which worked on the technology with EMC Corp, can now also have separate nodes linked by fibre channel up to 10 kilometers apart for high availability systems. And the company is talking up its dynamic partitioning technology, previously available but not well publicized, which moves processor and memory resources dynamically between different applications. While the new servers supersede the current range, it is possible to upgrade in blocks of four processors, and mix Pentium Pro and Xeons in the same system, with the same applications and database driven by heterogeneous processor types. Systems are available now, and around three dozen have already been shipped, with entry-level config urations starting at $200,000 - aggressive pricing when compared to Sun and HP equivalents, says Sequent. New mid-range servers, the Numa-Q 1000 range, will also be announced on Monday as part of the family, but won't ship until the first quarter of 1999. Sequent hasn't had a mid-range offering for over a year since it made the big jump from its older SMP range over to NUMA-Q. "We've been missing out on deals because we haven't had a phase one deployment system" admits Sequent spokesperson Steve Statler. The 1000 range will scale up to eight Xeon processors.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 23, 1998
Words:459
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