Compaq has stepped up its onslaught on the traditional Unix server market by revealing plans to support Intel's forthcoming 64-bit processor, code-named Merced.
The leading PC manufacturer said it is working with Intel in preparation for 64-bit computing, to ensure compatibility with existing 32-bit Intel processors.
"The Merced processor's compatibility with today's 32-bit operating systems and applications will protect our customers' existing software investments and ensure a compatible growth path into the future," said Hugh Jenkins, systems group product manager at Compaq.
The two companies are also working on other server and workstation-based technologies such as clustering, Hot Plug PCI, the I20 proposed industry standard for input/output technology and Web-Based Enterprise Management.
Merced will run a new 64-bit version of Windows NT being developed by Microsoft in conjunction with Intel. Compaq is working with enterprise software companies such as Baan, Oracle and SAP to ensure high-end NT applications are integrated and optimised for Compaq hardware based on the Merced processor.
Jenkins predicted that Compaq systems based on the forthcoming processor will be used to run enterprise applications such as large databases, data warehouses and Internet/intranet applications faster than current Compaq Pentium and Pentium Pro machines.
In the server market, Compaq is giving Unix boys such as Sun, Hewlett-Packard, Digital and IBM, a run for their money. In terms of price versus performance, a 64-bit Windows NT running on top of relatively cheap Compaq servers will certainly offer an attractive buy, compared to a similarly configured Unix server. The Merced processor is likely to offer Compaq and other PC server manufacturers formidable processing power, enabling users to deploy servers in situations traditionally the reserve of high-end Unix boxes.
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