AT&T Unix Labs Picks Sequent Dynix for Multiprocessing
September 19, 1990
After months of speculation, AT&T's Unix System Laboratories has finally plumped for Sequent Computer Systems' Dynix/ptx operating system technology to provide most of the multi-processing enhancements to Unix, promised as part of Unix International's Road Map for the future of Unix. Other participants with Sequent in the Unix System V.4 MP effort are Intel Corp, Motorola Inc, NCR Corp, Olivetti & Co, Oki Electric and Unisys Corp.
System V.4 MP is an interim offering, before full-blown symmetric multi-processing arrives, and will be available on Intel and Motorola architectures to members of Unix International's early access programme in the first quarter next year, with general availability set for end-June 1991.
System V.4 MP will be combined with the V.4 ES enhanced B2 secure version of Unix - which is already out to early access members in System V.4 ES/MP, the full symmetrical multi-processing, secure version of Unix which will be generally available in 1992, with early access in third quarter 1991.
Work on the combined effort will be carried out on Sequent's Symmetry with contributions from Fujitsu, Pyramid Technology, ICL, Intel, Motorola and AT&T's Computer Systems Division.
A reference implementation of System V.4 ES for OEM customers will be out in the first half of 1991, followed by a full release in the second half.
Parts of Sequent's Dynix/ptx operating system to be included in System V.4 ES/MP are its file system management, input-output system, process and memory management and parallel Streams capability.
Unix International's multi-processing workgroup has been responsible for deciding what features should be included in System V.4 MP. The rival Open Software Foundation is part of that group, and as a result, Unix Labs says the multi-processing application programming interface that will be created in System V.4 MP will be compatible with the Foundation's OSF/1 operating system, due in November.
Also announced by Unix Labs is an agreement with Veritas, with which it is working on developing a commercial file system to support data-intensive applications in Unix V.4. It will include a virtual disk subsystem - expected by the end of this year - a Unix file system-compatible fast recovery file system, visual administrator and configuration management software, all to follow in the first quarter 1991.
Those companies with technology included in the various implementations will receive a corresponding share of the revenue from sales, according to Bob Mitze, managing director of Unix System Laboratories Europe. He also revealed that AT&T remains committed to selling a minority stake in the System Labs by the end of the year. A prospectus is being finalised, and will be sent out to preferred companies early in October. AT&T's stake is likely to be reduced to a minority position in 1991, with a public flotation of the company expected some time after.