Compaq marries Tandem with Alpha

Compaq marries Tandem with Alpha

Compaq will move its highest-end Tandem Himalaya servers to the Digital Alpha chip in 2001 in a move designed to reassure large enterprise users of the systems.

The announcement marries two technology families acquired by Compaq in the past year: Tandem Computers' Himalaya S series servers used by financial institutions and telephone carriers, which were designed to keep working if components fail; and Digital's 64-bit Alpha processor line.

Compaq officials said the move is intended to allay concerns users may have about the future of the Mips Technologies processor now powering the Himalaya servers. The Mips processor, once used by several computer makers, is a leading chip architecture for consumer appliances and video games. Silicon Graphics retains a majority stake in Mips.

No changes required

Pauline Nist, vice president and general manager at the Tandem division of Compaq, said Compaq and Tandem are assuring Himalaya users considering migration plans that upgrading to Alpha-based servers won't require changes.

Tandem migrated its Himalaya users from its proprietary RISC chip to Mips in 1991.

That migration was smooth because Tandem provided a way for its users to keep their current applications running.

It worked so well, according to Nist, that about 60 per cent of Tandem's users are still running their original application code.

"We are going to commit to doing the same thing this time around," Nist said.

Himalaya with Alpha will have all the same features, Nist said. The company's three-year time frame for release is based on the fact that the next-generation EV7 Alpha chip isn't slated for release until 2000.

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