Sequent Unveils Next-Generation Technology For Large-Scale Enterprise Computing

NUMA-Q Architecture Scales to More Than 250 Processors; Intelligent, High-Speed Interconnect Breaks the Barriers of SMP

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Oct. 16, 1995 - Sequent Computer Systems, Inc., today announced its next-generation system architecture and a breakthrough processor interconnect technology that will enable the company to build systems containing more than 250 standard processors and 100 TB of data, providing performance tenfold that of conventional SMP systems.

At the core of Sequent's NUMA-Q architecture is an intelligent, high-speed interconnect - called IQ-Link - that breaks the backplane barrier that has bound conventional SMP for over a decade. NUMA-Q is Sequent's new cache-coherent nonuniform memory access (CC-NUMA) architecture, which leverages the Intel® Pentium® Pro (P6) multiprocessor technology to extend Sequent's legacy of bringing PC economies and the simple SMP programming model to large-scale enterprise computing.

Sequent invented open SMP computing in 1983, pioneering the use of industry-standard microprocessors as building blocks for large-scale computers. While many companies are just beginning to market SMP computers, Sequent's Symmetry® 5000 family of systems has captured 35 percent of the worldwide market for large-scale ($800,000 to $2 million) UNIX® systems, according to Computer Intelligence InfoCorp surveys.

"A decade ago, Sequent led the way in leveraging the standard microprocessor for large open systems," said Casey Powell, chairman and chief executive officer at Sequent. "With the NUMA-Q architecture and the IQ-Link interconnect, we define a new era of computing, one that will leverage standard building blocks to meet the very nonstandard requirements of large organizations seeking competitive advantage from their information systems."

Lawrence J. Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., the world's largest supplier of software for information management, said, "NUMA-Q represents a breakthrough in hardware technology that could be applied to large and complex data warehouse environments as well as mission-critical online transaction processing applications. Sequent's distributed and clustering approach with NUMA-Q architecture will provide a strong platform for Oracle's database and applications products. Oracle on NUMA-Q is expected to enable customers to implement multiterabyte databases as well as support tens of thousands of users."

New Solutions for Mission-Critical Applications

The NUMA-Q architecture will enable Sequent to build massively scaled systems that provide unparalleled availability, scalability and manageability at levels previously available only on the largest mainframes. Businesses are looking for ways to deploy and exploit dramatically larger databases, handle requests from a million World Wide Web site visitors a day, manage complex financials resulting from mergers and acquisitions, and limit downtime to minutes per year, all using flexible, scalable open computing systems. Sequent helps organizations meet those demands with comprehensive solutions in online transaction processing, decision support and business communications.

Intelligent, High-Speed Interconnect Moves Data at 32 GB per Second

The basic building block of the NUMA-Q architecture is constructed from industry-standard four-processor baseboards using the Intel Pentium Pro processor. Sequent enhances this board with extra redundancy and robustness for increased availability in enterprise-computing environments. Sequent connects multiple Pentium Pro "quads" with its new intelligent, high-speed IQ-Link, which moves data between the quads at a rate of 1 GB per second using a data pump chipset jointly engineered by Sequent and Vitesse Corp. The effective bus bandwidth of a NUMA-Q-based system scales linearly as quads are added and can be as high as 32 GB per second for a 252-processor system. Unlike other vendors, Sequent's intelligent interconnect is not only fast, it increases system throughput by employing sophisticated request queues to manage several tasks concurrently.

"Sequent's NUMA-Q technology is a very significant development for standards-based enterprise computing," said David L. House, senior vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Server Group at Intel. "As a pioneer in commercial SMP, Sequent has long demonstrated the business benefits of large-scale systems based on the Intel architecture. With the NUMA-Q architecture, Sequent continues its heritage of innovation, bringing the benefits of high-volume, standards-based systems to the large enterprise."

No Software Changes Required

In the NUMA-Q architecture, the IQ-Link moves data between quads so fast that the operating system and application software continue to operate as if they were running on one large shared-memory SMP system (called a "big bus" system). This gives NUMA-Q the same simple programming model that has made Sequent Symmetry systems so powerful and popular over the last decade. NUMA-Q systems will support both DYNIX/ptx® (Sequent's SMP-enhanced version of UNIX) and the Microsoft® Windows NT operating system. Current customer-developed and packaged client/server applications software - including Baan, ISOCOR, Oracle® applications, PeopleSoft® and SAP® R/3 - will run on NUMA-Q based systems with no changes required.

Sequent is developing a complete line of NUMA-Q architecture computer systems that will be rolled out in late 1996. The new generation of systems will be completely compatible with Sequent's current Symmetry line; in fact, the two lines can be mixed in clustered environments. Full binary compatibility with current-generation Symmetry systems will preserve the software investments of current Sequent customers.

Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SQNT), based in Beaverton, Ore., is a leading architect and provider of open client/server systems for business computing. Sequent provides professional consulting, educational and support services, and develops scalable multiprocessing computing systems.

The World Wide Web address for Sequent On-Line is This news release and other information are available from Sequent's news-on-demand fax service at (800) 356-0834.