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  • Hitachi to Sell Super Servers in 2000 Without Merced Chips
  • November 5, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Hitachi Ltd. will market super open servers using a processor technology common to its Skyline Series of mainframe computers.
    Hiroshi Kuwabara, Hitachi's executive vice president, and Toshihiko Odaka, a director, informed Nikkei Watcher on IT Business of the server strategy.

    Hitachi's new server will be commercialized by the end of 2000 when major producers of servers are expected to start marketing the next generation of servers based on the UNIX or Microsoft Windows NT5.0 operating systems. Hitachi is studying whether to offer UNIX or Windows NT, or make both the operating systems available on the new servers.

    Competition already is intense in the development phase of next-generation servers and part of that competition revolves around various combinations of 64-bit microprocessors and operating systems.

    NEC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. of the United States, and other server makers are developing UNIX/Windows NT servers based on Merced, a 64-bit microprocessor under development by Intel Corp.

    Other makers, including Sun Microsystems Inc. of the United States and Fujitsu Ltd., are preparing next-generation servers using Sun's SPARC microprocessors; Compaq, which acquired Digital Equipment Corp. of the United States, is developing next-generation Alpha servers, and IBM Corp. is preparing RS/6000 and AS/400 products using Power4 for delivery by 2001.

    Hitachi's "big servers" are to be designed "for higher performance and superior user-friendliness," Kuwabara said.

    The company is adopting a forward-looking plan for the OEM business. The business seems to highly intricate, with the exchanging of mission-critical mainframes as well as competition for achieving the top performance among high-end servers for the purpose of server integration.

    "Hitachi's next servers are being designed based on semiconductor process technologies shared with the Skyline II and later versions," Odaka said.

    Hitachi applied the ACE technology, in combination with the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology and high-speed emitter coupled logic (ECL) technology, to processors used in the Skyline Series. That series is compatible with the IBM S/390 mainframe computer.

    The Skyline Series is the only product line to which the ECL technology is applied, for higher performance.

    Hitachi is now developing the 12 symmetrical multiprocessor (SMP) Skyline II with single processor performance of 280 MIPS, and projected to reach 350 MIPS in fiscal 2000. The company targets a product release in the autumn of 1999. The next servers will have RISC microprocessors due to be developed based on the technologies of Skyline II and its successors, the company said.

    Kuwabara noted: "Servers with Merced and similar processors can match the performance of tens or hundreds of SMPs. But they won't result in ease of use for customers. Also, such servers will have lower cost/performance than is expected because the performance cannot increase in a scalable manner despite the multi-head configuration. We will sell Big Servers with same number of SMPs as Skyline II."

    Hitachi's mainframes comprise two series: (1) the Skyline based on the ACE technology, and (2) the mid-large range Pilot Series based on the combination of the IBM S/390 CMOS chip technology and Hitachi's IC package technology.

    "The two series will be retained through the time of the Skyline II successors and later versions, and the super large servers will be developed using our own processor device technology," Odaka said.

    Hitachi aims to build the best components that it can and to buy other superior items from vendors, Kuwabara said.

    Related stories:
    � Hitachi Unveils IC Tech for Next Mainframe Computers
    � Hitachi's Next-Generation Mainframe to Be Unveiled Soon

    (Nikkei Watcher on IT Business)

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    Updated: Wed Nov 4 16:27:49 1998 PDT