Once upon a time, advising customers about an open system that would suit their requirements for high performance, scalable database systems was easy - relatively. It was simply a matter of identifying the best platform for the selected software and installing that system.
Often, the software would choose the operating systems and the hardware for you. A particular piece of software might run only under HP-UX therefore you would recommend an HP9000 system, or only run AIX, making the choice any model from the IBM RS/6000 range. Performance of these operating systems and the underlying platform was almost a secondary issue. Unfortunately, things are not quite as simple today.
Whether Vars like it or not, Microsoft is forcing the issue of choice on high performance scalable platforms. NT, it claims, is the best system for SMP architectures and applications servers. It gives the user a choice of hardware and is already the standard operating system in the office.
In reply, Unix vendors cite the performance and stability of their systems and the wealth of applications available.
SMP machines are the mainframes of the future. Until NT, Unix had been the automatic choice on SMP systems. Unix is established, NT is new and, relatively, unproven, but has some powerful backers. The fundamental question for Vars is, which system runs applications best on multi-processor platforms?
Unquestionably, Unix has superior scalability at present. Bull's Escala range, which is identical to some of IBM's RS/600 range and runs a version of AIX, scales up to eight processors on a single machine and clusters up to 32. HP's PA-RISC architecture supports up to 14 processors and with Openserver, SCO claims it is possible to go up to 30 but so far, 12 is the most anyone has used.
Unix also has the applications says John Saw, technology marketing manager for HP.
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