Digital and Sequent Launch Initiative for Port of Digital Unix to Intel IA-64 for Unix Based Enterprise Computing

Initiative Will Deliver to Customers, ISVs and OEMs the Most Interoperable UNIX on Intel IA-64 for Mixed UNIX-Microsoft Environments

Single Implementation of This Operating System to Span Intel IA-64 and Alpha Architectures

MAYNARD, Mass. and BEAVERTON, Ore., January 6, 1998 -- Digital Equipment Corporation and Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. today announced they will collaborate on a 64-bit UNIX initiative to establish the leading UNIX on the IA-64 enterprise computing architecture, and the most interoperable UNIX with Windows NT. The 64-bit UNIX initiative is based on Digital UNIX, will add key Sequent technologies, and be augmented with joint development by the two companies. Key to the initiative will be aggressive recruitment of additional partners and licensees.

As part of the initiative, Digital UNIX will be renamed to underscore the effort to create the industry’s leading UNIX on Intel, and reflect Digital’s commitment to partnering with other hardware vendors.

Casey Powell, chairman and CEO of Sequent Computer Systems, Inc. said, "This 64-bit UNIX initiative will deliver the only complete 64-bit UNIX on Intel IA-64. The initiative is uniquely positioned to achieve broad acceptance among enterprise-focused customers, ISVs and OEMs who require a risk-free migration path, partnership, and product integration for IA-64."

The offering will leverage the more than 4,500 existing Digital UNIX 64-bit applications, provide binary compatibility with existing 32-bit applications, a production-ready environment for high-end applications, integral UNIX-Microsoft integration, and an open requirements process for OEM partners. In addition, a source migration path will be available for current 32-bit UNIX vendors who participate in this initiative.

The 64-bit UNIX initiative will be based on Digital UNIX, the industry’s leading 64-bit operating system, and will continue to be owned by Digital. The joint development effort will integrate key technology from Sequent’s DYNIX/ptx IA-32 UNIX operating system, including Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) technology, and draw on the engineering expertise of both companies. Sequent has delivered high-end systems based on the Intel architecture since 1984.

Robert B. Palmer, Digital chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased to welcome Sequent as our first partner in creating the leading UNIX for Intel’s 64-bit architecture. Together with Sequent and future partners, we intend to lead the market for 64-bit UNIX by delivering the best enterprise UNIX on Intel, the best path to Merced for customers, and ISVs, and proven UNIX-Microsoft interoperability."

Complete Compatibility

This 64-bit UNIX initiative will provide:

* A single implementation across Intel IA-64 and Alpha to ensure functional equivalence and 100 percent source compatibility across the two architectures.

* 100 percent binary compatibility for ISV and customer applications. As a result, a binary application developed on any IA-64 system will run on all vendors’ IA-64 systems running this enhanced operating system.

In addition, Digital and Sequent will jointly develop a source-compatible environment, initially on top of Sequent ptx, to provide Sequent and other OEM customers with forward compatibility for source code written on their 32-bit systems.

This initiative will offer the only UNIX with little endian Intel byte-order compatibility across both Intel and RISC (Alpha) implementations. This makes smooth forward migration of applications possible with a simple re-compile.

John Miner, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Enterprise Server Group said, "With Merced, the Intel architecture is becoming a unifying platform for enterprise computing environments. In this industry-wide endeavor, Digital and Sequent each bring a strong history of technology and partnering capabilities for high-end UNIX solutions with strong Windows NT integration."

Sequent Chairman Powell added, "We chose to partner with Digital for this 64-bit UNIX initiative because it gives our customers a production-quality operating system with thousands of 64-bit applications at the launch of Merced, 32-bit compatibility looking back, and Windows NT integration looking forward. That’s what we needed -- what any enterprise OEM needs -- and only Digital offered it. I’ll give you an example. With Solaris, Sun offered Sequent a low-end Intel environment which has a long way to go before it approaches where Solaris-on-SPARC is today. And, at Sun, the commitment clearly isn’t there for NT integration."

Gary Bloom, Oracle’s senior vice president for Alliances and Products, said, "The IA-64 UNIX on Intel initiative is an important technology for our enterprise customers where the integration of their mission critical UNIX applications with newer NT systems is becoming increasingly important. Oracle Network Computing Architecture will fully exploit IA-64 UNIX initiative, providing a very powerful, cost effective platform for network computing applications as well as a migration path to Merced, the next generation of chip technology from Intel."

Commitment To UNIX Leadership On Alpha And Intel

Digital Chairman Palmer added, "This announcement reinforces Digital’s long-term strategic commitment to UNIX on both Alpha and Intel. We already have more than five years of experience in delivering high-performance, 64-bit UNIX solutions on Alpha. In other words, customers and ISVs have an immediate path to 64-bit enterprise computing. With the availability of 64-bit UNIX on both Alpha and Intel, they will have access to the broadest range of high-performance solutions in the industry."

Leader In UNIX/Microsoft Integration

This initiative will offer leading integration for UNIX and Windows NT, a world-class integrated development environment, middleware and infrastructure products. Digital, as a leader in Windows NT systems integration and interoperability, offers customers a head start in UNIX/Windows NT bridging technologies. These technologies will be available to OEMs who adopt this initiative.

UNIX and Windows NT integration and interoperability will be a focus of future Digital/Sequent joint development, leveraging Sequent’s expertise in achieving high-performance, scalability, and availability on Intel-based systems.

About Sequent Computer Systems, Inc.

Sequent Computer Systems is a global leader in enterprise-wide, open IT systems, delivering scalable, flexible, data center solutions. Sequent’s solutions are based on breakthrough NUMA-Q architecture, which supports UNIX, Windows NT, or mixed environments; a comprehensive portfolio of proven programs and services; and an established set of partnerships with the industry’s best-in-class. Sequent minimizes customers’ risk, enabling integration of computing infrastructure and implementation of complex, business-critical applications. More than 8,500 installations house Sequent systems, including many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated OLTP, DSS, business communications, and RDBMS applications.

About Digital Equipment Corporation

Digital Equipment Corporation, recognized for product and service excellence, is a leading supplier of high-performance, Web-based computing solutions which help enterprises compete in the global marketplace. Digital gives its customers a winning Internet advantage through a comprehensive portfolio of Internet solutions based on award-winning systems, advanced networking infrastructure, innovative software, and industry applications - including those from business partners. The expertise and experience of Digital employees help customers plan, design, implement, manage and support Internet solutions in countries throughout the world. For the latest company information, visit Digital on the World Wide Web at and/or