Amdahl will ship its 75 Mips CMOS mainframe in April and claimed it will, at last, offer customers a low-cost replacement for their existing high-end technology.
John Tindler, product marketing manager for System 390, said CMOS mainframes were significantly cheaper to purchase, to run and had much lower environmental costs. He claimed they were six months ahead of IBM with this offering and they would kick-start the mainframe market.
"Expect to see a lot of growth in the latter part of this year in mainframe sales as CMOS offers a new growth path. The market has been stagnant the last two years on ECL models," said Tindler.
However, Peter Norris, IT consultant for IBM's System 390 division, said IBM shipped a 63 Mips model last June. IBM is expected to release its Generation Five model by August with over 90 Mips per processor up to a 10-way configuration.
He claimed IBM customers had already upgraded most machines to CMOS and that the growth would come from e-business development, heavy-duty SAP and Oracle implementations, and incremental performance upgrades.
Amdahl's 700 series mainframe is expected to give the company a significant boost in sales as its first CMOS box to offer performance equivalent to the higher-end ECL mainframes.
On the downside, models sold so far of Amdahl's existing CMOS offering, the 500, are not upgradable. In the future, a standard frame means either board or processor module upgrades will be possible between the 500, 700 and 800 models.
The 700 range offers 80 Mips on a single processor with configurations available from 2-way to a 12-way. The 12-way offers a total performance of 686 Mips with full availability from April. Early next year Amdahl plans to release its 800-series with more than 100 Mips per processor.
No list pricing is publicly available for the 700, but, as a recent Gartner research note confirmed, potential S390 customers are wise to negotiate hard and take advantage of this competitive market to get the best price.
Amdahl did not say which company was making its CMOS chip.
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