Digital Introduces Alpha AXP Computing

21st Century Computing Starts Today Meeting Customer Needs with New Systems, Software, Applications, Services, and Business Practices

BOSTON, MASS. -- November 10, 1992 -- Digital Equipment Corporation today introduced Alpha AXP computing: a complete set of systems, software, applications, and services, with new business practices, that provides a universal platform enabling unlimited open computing possibilities.

Alpha AXP computing -- the first advanced 64-bit, twenty-first century architecture -- is a major technology milestone for the computing industry. For Digital, it reflects a renewed determination to help customers succeed. Alpha AXP computing enables users:

"Today is the beginning of a new revolution in computing, " said Robert B. Palmer, Digital President and Chief Executive Officer. "With nearly limitless 64-bit computing power, and the applications of three major operating systems, the path ahead leads wherever the imagination can take it. Alpha AXP computing will enable customers to invent profitable new ways to serve people."

"The products and services announced today mark the next phase of our Alpha AXP roll-out, which demonstrates that Digital satisfies customer needs today, and has the partners, products, services, and commitment to continue to satisfy their needs well into the twenty-first century," he added.

Announced today were:

"Today's Alpha AXP announcement returns Digital to its strongest competitive position in years. It is the result of a massive company-wide effort involving all of engineering, marketing, sales, service, and manufacturing -- as well as over 1,000 application and system partners. Yet, today's announcement is only one in a series of planned major Alpha AXP announcements," said Winston R. Hindle, Senior Vice President of Digital Equipment Corporation.

The Universal Platform for Open Choice

Alpha AXP computing goes beyond "open" to create the first universal platform. It provides choice of operating system software, open standards, popular peripherals, and vendors. Since no one software environment can meet all customer needs, Digital offers a choice of leadership operating systems. Together, these three operating systems bring a huge reservoir of applications to Alpha AXP computing.

DEC OSF/1 for Alpha AXP is the only 64-bit operating system meeting the specifications agreed to by UNIX System Laboratories and the Open Software Foundation for a unified UNIX software platform. This means it is able to support applications written to all the popular UNIX variants -- including System V, OSF, and Berkeley derivatives such as the ULTRIX operating system. A software development version is available now, and volume shipment of an end-user version will begin in March, 1993.

The OpenVMS AXP operating system provides the world's highest functionality software environment -- with features that deliver leadership data protection, integrity, availability, and scalability. The OpenVMS AXP operating system is available now, and at the same base price as DEC OSF/1 for Alpha AXP.

The Windows NT operating system will provide the familiar Microsoft Windows environment on the fastest hardware platform in the industry.

The universal platform will provide a choice of popular open standards, including: POSIX, SQL, TCP/IP, OSI, ANSI languages, and others. The universal platform also will provide a choice of popular hardware interconnects -- EISA, SCSI-2, TURBOchannel, VME, Futurebus+, Ethernet, and FDDI -- so all popular peripherals and networks can be used.

Unbounded Performance; Cost-Effective for Decades

AXP system performance begins where 32-bit reduced instruction set computing (RISC) systems leave off. Unlike IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Sun RISC systems, Alpha AXP computing offers sixty-four-bit addressing -- four billion times the data addressing capacity of current 32-bit systems. For example, 32-bit addressing can directly address all the words in 111 file cabinets. Sixty-four bit addressing provides the power to address all the words in a row of file cabinets stretching around the world 5,000 times.

"Our goal is to create the 64-bit universal standard. Sixty-four bits will enable the full potential, at affordable prices, of entire application arenas that are only being experimented with today, such as multimedia, imaging, and virtual reality," said William R. Demmer, Vice President, Alpha and VAX Systems. "Today's first Alpha AXP systems set new industry performance records, and Alpha AXP technology will sustain that performance for decades. The Alpha AXP architecture is operating-system independent and we are aggressively partnering at all levels of integration. Twenty-first century computing starts today," he added.

Today's new products include a family of workstations and servers based on the Alpha AXP architecture. These systems offer the best price/performance in the industry among systems in their respective classes from IBM, H-P, or Sun Microsystems. The new Alpha AXP models offer leadership performance across a wide range of industry-standard benchmarks, including SPECfp92, SPECint92, and SPEC89.

The DEC 3000 AXP workstations were announced today. The Model 400 offers 107.5 SPECmark89 units of performance for less than $15,000. The model 500 offers large expansion capacity and is priced at less than $39,000. Both are available now. Digital also announced today that it will introduce additional workstations, and EISA-based AXP systems running Windows NT - priced under $10,000 -- in the first half of 1993.

Digital also announced five Alpha AXP servers. Server versions of the two DEC 3000 AXP workstations offer very high performance for less than $19,000 and $42,000 respectively. DEC 4000 AXP servers offer multiprocessing, powerful Futurebus+ I/O, twice the expansion of competitive models, and up to 247.0 SPECthruput -- with prices starting at $77,000. The DEC 7000 AXP data center server is the most expandable data center system in the industry in processing power, I/O, disk and memory capacity; it delivers 604.4 SPECthruput89. Entry prices start at $168,000. The DEC 10000 AXP mainframe-class server uses the fastest microprocessors in the industry -- 200MHz, delivers over 654.6 SPECthruput89 and is priced starting at $316,000. The DEC 3000 AXP, DEC 4000 AXP, and DEC 7000 AXP servers are available now; the DEC 10000 AXP server will be available in the first quarter of 1993.

Solutions for Competitive Business Advantage

Today, more than 2,000 applications from 1,000 vendors already are committed to run on AXP systems running the OpenVMS AXP or DEC OSF/1 for Alpha AXP operating systems. To support application migration, Digital has shipped more than 800 AXP systems to software developers and opened more than 30 Application Migration Centers worldwide.

Digital's staged software delivery is on schedule, with software products for applications developers available on both DEC OSF/1 for Alpha AXP and OpenVMS AXP systems. The 19 layered software products announced today include DEC FORTRAN and DEC C compilers, DECnet networking and DEC Rdb database.

The next stage, a complete CASE and runtime environment, is available to all developers through Digital's Application Migration Center programs. Services is an integral part of Digital's Alpha AXP solutions capability. Digital leads the industry in multivendor open services, servicing more than 14,000 products from 1,300 vendors.

Digital offers a dedicated set of multivendor services focused on smoothly integrating Alpha AXP technology with existing multivendor environments. Digital is committed to support its partners with the same level of service as for its own products.

The expanded services portfolio includes new migration, training, and consulting services that help UNIX, OpenVMS, and, soon, Windows NT customers easily move to Alpha AXP-class computing. New design-in and support services help Digital's Alpha AXP partners build, deliver and support Alpha AXP-based products.

Digital's goal is to give customers the widest choice of leadership solutions across the broadest range of market segments. Digital is actively recruiting partners and will sell its products at all levels of integration -- chips, boards, system, boxes, software, solutions, and design -- and will license intellectual property in alliances that will broaden the Alpha AXP market.

There are now more than 35 Alpha AXP partners, including Olivetti, Cray Research, Kubota Pacific, Aeon Systems, and Raytheon.

Alpha-ready Upgrade Program Protects Customer Investments All OpenVMS VAX and ULTRIX DECsystem products are "Alpha-ready." They support the same software, data, applications, networks, clusters and peripherals as Alpha AXP systems. This means that over 85 percent of customers' typical computing investments in hardware, software, and training are protected. With Alpha-ready upgrades, Digital protects the other 15 percent of customers' investments -- the central processor itself.

With today's Alpha AXP announcement, Digital has improved its Alpha-ready Upgrade Program dramatically. For example, it now costs only $99/SPECmark for the difference in performance when moving from any new VAXstation or DECstation workstation to a DEC 3000 Model 400 AXP workstation. It costs $30,000 per processor for an in-cabinet upgrade from the VAX 7000 system to the DEC 7000 AXP system, a small percent of the total system price.

New business practices also enable customers to move software licenses easily and efficiently to Alpha AXP systems. To continue to provide leadership price/performance for commercial applications, Digital reduced several Alpha-ready VAX entry system prices. Digital has re-established its lead over IBM, H-P, and Sun, based on the widely recognized TPC Benchmark A: $7,639/tpsA-Local and 51.95 tpsA-Local for the VAX 4000 Model 100 system.

Digital Equipment Corporation, headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts, is the leading worldwide supplier of networked computer systems, software, and services. Digital pioneered and leads the industry in interactive, distributed, and multivendor computing. Digital and its business partners deliver the power to use the best integrated solutions - from desktop to data center - in open information environments.


Note to Editors:

Alpha AXP, AXP, the AXP mark, DEC, DECstation, DECsystem, DECnet, Digital, the Digital logo, OpenVMS, TURBOchannel, ULTRIX, VAX, and VAXstation are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.

MIPS is a trademark of MIPS Computer Systems. UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories.

OSF and OSF/1 are registered trademarks of the Open Software Foundation, Inc.

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

System V is a trademark of AT&T. Futurebus+ is a trademark of Force Computers GMBH.

Editorial contact:

Sarah Miller (508) 264-5420
David J. Bouffard (415) 617-3500