Sequent Introduces Powerful New Symmetry 5000 Series

New Generation of Systems Extends Enterprise Leadership with New Bus, Four-node Clusters

BEAVERTON, Ore. - April 4, 1994 - Continuing its high-end systems leadership, Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. today announced the Sequent Symmetry 5000 series of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems for business-critical client/server applications. The new-generation UNIX-based platform supports up to 30 66MHz Intel Pentium processors and features a new, highly scalable system bus and four-node cluster capability for high availability. The family comprises two systems: the Symmetry 5000 SE20, supporting two to 10 Pentium processors, and the Symmetry 5000 SE60, supporting two to 30 Pentium processors. In conjunction with the Symmetry 5000 introduction, Sequent is also announcing a new version of its DYNIX/ptx operating system.

The series establishes a new standard for scalable server performance within Sequent's solutions for the corporate enterprise. "These powerful new systems continue Sequent's commitment to help customers design and implement flexible information systems to meet their business goals," said Mark Miller, vice president of enterprise marketing at Sequent. "The Symmetry 5000 systems contain many of the latest technological advances that our customers have requested. Combined with Sequent's expertise in SMP and open systems, they give organizations a strong foundation on which to build responsive information systems to achieve and maintain their competitive advantage." The new systems are an ideal solution for organizations moving to open client/server systems for business-critical applications such as online transaction processing (OLTP) and decision support.

According to Miller, a balanced combination of technologically advanced systems, a mature, highly scalable SMP operating system, and a strong commitment to partnering for database and software products are key to providing high-performing, highly reliable solutions.

To ensure the success of these solutions, Sequent provides professional services support - a comprehensive program of diverse consulting services the company offers to help customers achieve their business goals. These services range from Enterprise Architecture Planning to implementation services and technical consulting.

"Sequent should be looked at closely by companies needing high-performance, scalable servers for decision support and OLTP applications," said Joe Gottlieb, vice president and service director of open computing and server strategies at META Group. "With this new family of systems, Sequent continues to extend its already excellent scalability and headroom for commercial applications."

"We found the Sequent Symmetry 5000 SE20 system to be the cleanest beta we've ever run," said Bill Lawrence, network manager at Southern California Edison Corp., who tested the system during January and February. "The system was flawless - it behaved like a production machine."

The Symmetry 5000 is a new generation of systems that is completely binary-compatible with the existing Symmetry 2000 series. The Symmetry 5000 and 2000 share common software and can coexist in clustered configurations. If a customer wants to move to the Symmetry 5000, Sequent provides a program to make the transition easy.

The S5000 SE20 supports from two to 10 Pentium processors, up to 2GB of memory, and up to 237GB of disk storage. The S5000 SE60 features two to 30 Pentium processors, up to 2GB of memory, and up to 840GB of disk storage.

Highly Scalable Bus

A key contributor to the Symmetry 5000's breakthrough performance is the new Highly Scalable Bus (HSB). Specifically developed to take advantage of the high-efficiency features of the previous 80MB-per-second system bus, the 240MB-per-second HSB triples the clock rate, with an associated increase in scalability to support more powerful processors.

The heavy workloads demanded by OLTP and decision support applications can best be served by a system bus that offers low latency and high efficiency - as opposed to simply high theoretical bandwidth. The HSB builds on the legendary scalability of the Sequent Symmetry~2000 and exceeds all competitive offerings in terms of system scalability, even those offering up to 1GB-per-second buses. The HSB achieves this industry-leading scalability through a focus on optimizing bus usage and minimizing unnecessary bus traffic.

Four-way Clusters

Symmetry 5000 systems also come in a clustered configuration that supports two, three or four nodes, providing increased performance and availability over the previous two-node systems. Designated the Symmetry 5000 SE90, the clustered systems include two or more S5000 SE20 or SE60 systems, or any Symmetry 5000 system or systems combined with a customer's existing Symmetry 2000 systems. All nodes can share common disk storage, while each node runs its own copy of the operating system.

In soft failover demonstrations, the S5000 SE90 clusters repeatedly bring users back online within four minutes of the failure, providing an important extra measure of high availability for mission-critical applications. The S5000 SE90 clustered systems can support more than 800GB of shared disk storage.

High-availability features of the SE90 include advanced error recovery and control software, including a kernel-based fault-tolerant lock manager facility that coordinates shared resources such as tape units, disk volumes and databases. The result is fast error recovery and minimized system downtime.

New SVID 3-conformant Operating System

In conjunction with the Symmetry 5000 introduction, Sequent is announcing the new DYNIX/ptx version 4.0 operating system. DYNIX/ptx 4.0 is a new SVID 3 (System V Interface Definition) conformant version of the Sequent SMP-enhanced UNIX operating system, the most scalable UNIX available. The new operating system provides a complete, open hardware and software environment for application development and deployment. It is based on USL System 5.4 as defined by SVID 3 and supports the Intel ABI, and it is in the process of being XPG4 branded.

As a result, DYNIX/ptx 4.0 makes it very easy to port many applications to Sequent platforms and provides the ideal solution for corporations with a multivendor environment. At the same time, the operating system offers existing Sequent customers a binary-compatible upgrade path that allows them to take advantage of the unique Sequent capability to scale linearly in a robust SMP architecture.

TCP/IP, X-Windows (X11R5), and an online documentation viewer that utilizes CD-ROM media are bundled with the new operating system.

Pricing and Availability

The Symmetry 5000 Series is available for volume shipment immediately. Prices range from $145,000 to over $1 million for the S5000 SE20 and from $330,000 to over $2 million for the S5000 SE60, depending on the configuration selected from the broad range of capacities that each system offers. Sequent system prices include a range of services, not normally included by competitors, in order to make the implementation a success. Three- and four-node clusters and DYNIX/ptx 4.0 will be available in June. (Note to editors: Photos and pricing examples are available upon request.)

Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SQNT), based in Beaverton, Ore., is a leading architect and provider of open client/server systems for commercial computer applications in online transaction processing, decision support and workgroup computing. Sequent provides professional consulting and educational services to ensure successful system solutions. The company develops and markets scalable computing systems that support enterprise-wide applications and information services: the Symmetry series running on the UNIX operating system and the WinServer family running on the Microsoft Windows NT operating system. Sequent is the market share leader in large UNIX systems (over $700,000), according to InfoCorp. Since the launch of its symmetric multiprocessor family of systems in 1984, Sequent has installed more than 5,500 large-scale systems worldwide.

Sequent, Symmetry, DYNIX/ptx and WinServer are registered trademarks of Sequent Computer Systems, Inc.

UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Novell, Inc.

Intel is a registered trademark and Pentium is a trademark of Intel Corporation.

Microsoft is a registered trademark and Windows NT is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

New Sequent Symmetry 5000 Clustered Systems Support up to Four Nodes

New Capability Extends Existing Proven Cluster Technology for Higher Performance And Availability

BEAVERTON, Ore. - April 4, 1994 - Extending its commitment to business-critical computing, Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. today introduced the new Symmetry 5000 SE90 clustered systems. Symmetry 5000 SE90 clusters link two to four Symmetry systems sharing data stored on common disks or tape units. The S5000 SE90 systems are an important high-availability solution for organizations' business-critical applications such as online transaction processing (OLTP) and decision support. The new four-node cluster capability extends the proven two-node cluster configuration and increases the number of users supported, delivering improvements in system performance and availability.

"With OLTP and decision support applications so vital to corporate success, companies simply cannot tolerate extended downtime," said Mark Miller, vice president of enterprise marketing at Sequent. "A proven route to higher availability, Sequent clustered systems are an important component of many enterprise client/server solutions. The new S5000 SE90s combine the architectural scalability of the Symmetry 5000 platform with four-way clustering to produce an extremely high-performance, highly available solution for business- critical computing."

"Sequent clustered systems are high-quality, comprehensive, UNIX-based clustered solutions that can provide significant business benefits for cost-effective performance in high-end business applications," said Wayne Kernochan, director of commercial systems research at Aberdeen Group. "The availability of new four-way clusters indicates that Sequent is continuing on a steady path to provide even more functionality and performance benefits to customers."

The S5000 SE90 nodes run the DYNIX/ptx operating system separately, while sharing common disk and tape storage. S5000 SE90 clusters have recently been used in soft failover demonstrations that bring users back online within four minutes of a node failure. The failover takes place transparently; users may be automatically transferred to another node and continue to work.

High-availability features of the new clusters include a very high-performance, kernel-mode distributed, fault-tolerant lock manager; online disk replacement; online disk volume management; redundant low-latency interconnects between nodes; and more than 800GB of shared storage. A wide range of sophisticated systems management tools have been cluster-enabled to coordinate disk access, distribute jobs and users between nodes, and monitor and manage the state of the cluster.

Symmetry 5000 SE90 clusters may comprise up to four S5000 SE20s (each of which contains two to 10 Intel Pentium. processors), four S5000 SE60s (each with two to 30 Pentium processors), or any combination of S5000 SE20s or SE60s in quantities of two, three or four nodes. Customers also may combine Symmetry 5000 systems with their existing Symmetry 2000 systems up to a total of four nodes.

To ensure a complete solution, Sequent provides technical consulting for each S5000 SE90 cluster purchased.

Pricing and Availability

Sequent Symmetry 5000 systems, including the S5000 SE90 clustered versions, are available to order immediately for shipments.