Amdahl previews CMOS machine

Amdahl Corp. this week revealed more details of its forthcoming entry into the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)-based mainframe market, including support for Parallel Sysplex technology and an option to combine two eight-way mainframes in one box.

Expected to be available by August, Amdahl's Millennium Global Servers will come with a number of features that will offer users a lot of flexibility in how they configure and scale up their IBM Corp.-compatible System/390 mainframes, said Kathryn Gorges, the processor marketing manager for Amdahl, Sunnyvale, Calif. The servers were announced last year [FCW, Sept. 4, 1995].

Most important, the new mainframes will support Amdahl's Coupling Servers, available early next year, which will allow users to run IBM's Parallel Sysplex software for balancing workloads across multiple mainframes.

"We see a number of government users today who are expressing interest in CMOS and have plans to acquire it in the very short run," said Elmer Clegg, vice president of the Southeast area for Amdahl. "Most of that is being done in test mode and in the field of Parallel Sysplex."

Also, the Global Server's dual-server feature makes it possible to combine the system board and the channels of two eight-way servers for a total of almost 600 million instructions per second of processing capacity in one mainframe. The two servers will run as separate domains.

The space-savings of this configuration could also be a factor for federal agencies taking on more workloads as part of governmentwide data center consolidations, Clegg said.

Additionally, users can take advantage of the dual-server feature to install Parallel Sysplex, Gorges said.

As part of a strategy announced last month, customers can use Amdahl's new CMOS mainframes as Parallel Sysplex coupling facilities. With a dual server, customers can provide redundant Parallel Sysplex operations in a small amount of space using both servers.

Or, as part of a migration plan, users can use one server as a coupling facility and the other as a general processor with multiple logical domains, Gorges said.

All Global Servers come with eight processors installed. Customers select how many processors to activate when they buy the system, but they can upgrade the system in the future, Amdahl said.

In conjunction with this configuration, the vendor offers a QuickCapacity feature in which systems can be upgraded electronically by Amdahl personnel. Additionally, Amdahl offers a similar capability called QuickSwitch, which allows users to activate an unused processor to replace a failed unit.

These packaging features offer "some interesting nuances" that need to be tested in the market, said Carl Greiner, vice president and service director at The Meta Group, Westport, Conn.

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