Tandem CEO Roel Pieper hopes his company can offer clustered servers and help Microsoft persuade the industry that Windows NT can scale for enterprise installations.
The company launched a box containing two clustered Intel Pentium Pro servers, the CS150, for under $15,000.
Giving a keynote speech to open the Windows NT Intranet Solutions show in San Francisco, Pieper claimed Tandem can already cluster up to 64 chips - linking 16 four-way 200MHz Pentium Pro SMP servers - using its software, which is part of Microsoft?s Wolfpack development.
"We can create a monster of a computer to run NT," he said. "Clearly it is the early stages of the market. By being in the first wave you have a bigger chance of succeeding."
After explaining the opportunity presented by the online revolution, Piper argued that reliability and scalability are crucial to finding more mass-market uses for the Internet. Tandem was bought by Compaq in June, partly for its reputation for server reliability.
The CS150 will only be available from Tandem and not Compaq resellers but insiders said a similar machine will be launched by Compaq. Tandem?s clustering software will work with users? current NT-based Intel servers, Pieper said, so they can get clustering without starting from scratch.
The software includes Nonstop technology from Tandem?s high-end machines and Servernet, which links the machines in case of hardware, OS or application failure.
Pieper predicted 70 per cent of the market for clustered systems will be for dual server systems as departmental machines, branch offices or Web servers, whenever systems are required with minimum downtime. He said Tandem will ensure systems can be extended by adding more boxes and forecast that 64-processor systems will cover 98 per cent of customer needs.
Pieper admitted Digital is also driving clustering but claimed Data General?s clustering solution, Aviion Cluster-in-a-box, adds no value.
Oracle, Informix and Computer Associates were among partners showing solutions running on Tandem?s clustered machines at the show.
Customers said the reliable reputation of Tandem?s hardware to provide 24 hour availability attracted them to the CS150, although they admitted it does not offer the same standard of reliability or the parallel processing of Tandem?s high-end Himalaya platform.
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