Compaq aims Windows at Unix

A new enterprise computing architecture attempts to advance Microsoft-Intel computers into the upper reaches of corporate America.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
2 min read
Compaq will unveil a new enterprise computing architecture tomorrow that attempts to advance Compaq's Microsoft-Intel computers into the rarified upper reaches of high-end corporate America, currently a Unix bastion.

Called the E2000 Platform Architecture, the new architecture is a blueprint showing how corporate users can create large-scale corporate networks with Microsoft's Windows NT operating system and the latest crop of Intel-based servers, according to Karl Walker, vice president of technology development in Compaq's enterprise computing group.

Almost none of the E2000 component technologies is new, he said. Some of the building block components, such as "hot-pluggable" peripheral component interface (PCI), are already common features in high-end servers. What E2000 does is amalgamate a number of key developments into a road map and show corporate customers how to deploy large databases, for example, onto multiprocessor Intel servers, currently a bulwark of Unix computers.

"What has been developed in the server area, in the software area, we are putting into a cohesive goal," he said. "We're taking the business development model [from the PC arena] into the [corporate-computing] enterprise space."

Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and others have pledged to support E2000.

On the hardware side, Compaq is using E2000 to promote some of the technology it acquired from Tandem. Tandem's ServerNet technology, for instance, serves as one of the clustering technologies in E2000. Clustering allows users to tie banks of servers together in a fail-safe network in order to prevent damage from computer outages.

"It leverages some of the key technology from the Tandem acquisition, but it is much broader than that," Walker said. Enrico Pesatori, president of Tandem, added, in a prepared statement, that the effort would also be used to sell Tandem's Himalaya servers.

Compaq chairman Eckhard Pfeiffer will outline E2000 in London. This follows by a day the announcement that the company was acquiring Digital Equipment for $9.6 billion. (See related story)

To demonstrate the technology, Compaq said it would present a cluster of six ProLiant 6500 Servers each running four processors running a copy of Oracle Parallel server. The system is capable of handling 60,000 transactions per minute and storing 4 terabytes of data, according to Brad Anderson, director of strategic marketing at Compaq.

"It's an umbrella initiative. It's something they had to do," said Jerry Sheridan, principal analyst at Dataquest.