Digital Equipment Corp. Introduces New Systems In Its Second Generation, High-Performance VAX Computers And A Range Of Enhancements

BOSTON, Aug. 5, 1986 -- PRNewswire -- Digital Equipment Corp. (NYSE: DEC) reconfirmed its leadership position in the computer industry today by introducing two new systems in its second generation, high- performance VAX computers and a range of enhancements.

The new systems, the VAX 8550 and the VAX 8700, bring to six the number of computers using the new VAXBI (VAX Bus Interconnect) architecture introduced since January.

This announcement continues a pattern of rapid introductions begun with the highly successful MicroVAX computer 15 months ago. The new computers and associated products, including a high-performance computer network server, are designed to boost users' cost-effectiveness across the full range of Digital's products.

The new systems were announced to more than 125 members of the press and industry analysts at Boston University, the site of an extensive summer training institute for Digital customer representatives. Digital's vice president of services industry marketing, Robert Hughes, tied the new products directly to the company's industry marketing focus -- a major emphasis of the training session. "These systems significantly enhance our new high-performance VAX line," he said, "and strengthen even further Digital's ability to provide comprehensive computing solutions specific to the needs of all the major market segments."

According to Hughes, "Today's announcements add a powerful new dimension to the industry-leading VAX computer line. These products extend the problem-solving alternatives for users in all industries and at all levels from the project team to the department and organization. Digital is today expanding into an even stronger competitive position by offering more of what the user needs."

The systems are being offered in seven configurations, with base prices ranging from $364,000 for the VAX 8550, and from $433,000 for the VAX 8700. All versions are available immediately or within 30 days.

Hughes indicated that the new systems deliver six times the performance of the industry-standard VAX-11/780 system. "The VAX 8550 system provides high-performance computing in a very compact package," Hughes said. "For example, it is an excellent system for large departments that want to support general-purpose office information systems, simulation or computer-aided design."

A special configuration of the VAX 8550 system for supporting ALL-IN-1, the company's industry leading integrated office automation system, was also announced.

The VAX 8700 system is a high-performance VAX computer suitable for industrial and scientfic applications requiring very large memory and high data transfer rates. Hughes cited management information systems, scientific modeling, financial modeling, and data acquisition systems as examples.

Along with the new VAX systems, Digital announced new configurations of the VAX 8200 and VAX 8300 computers which are based solely on the VAXBI architecture. These new systems, which previously employed a UNIBUS adapter, now provide higher performance and increased reliability, and occupy less floor space. These improved versions utilize the VAXBI tape and communication controllers announced with the VAX 8500 computer in April, and these systems can be expanded to 24 Mbytes memory capacity.

The VAXBI is Digital's internal architecture for the interconnect that links the computer's central processing unit and peripheral devices such as printers, terminals, disk and tape drives. According to Donald J. McInnis, enginering program manager, "The VAXBI interconnect provides substantial gains in data transmission speed within the system while simplifying design efforts for developers of peripheral devices and OEMs who are incorporating the new VAX computers in their products."

McInnis said there has been wide customer acceptance of the new series of VAXBI products. "As a result, more than 70 vendors have applied for VAXBI licensing, and some are now offering their own complementary products," he said.

A new VAXBI Bridge, also announced today, allows VAX 8600 and VAX 8650 systems to use VAXBI options through VAXcluster systems.

In summarizing the significance of today's announcements from the standpoint of benefits to the user, McInnis noted: high-speed VAXBI resources are now available at all levels of performance; memory capacity has been increased across the VAXBI line; extensive expansion options and capabilities have been added; and Digital's Ethernet local area networking interconnect is standard on all VAXBI-based systems.

Furthermore, Digital is the only major vendor that is committed to remedial service response time on qualifying systems to be within two hours of a service call. In addition, the entire VAXBI-based line is supported by a full one-year on-site service warranty.

The new VAX computers run under the VMS operating system and are fully compatible with all VAX computers. This single architecture capability, unique to Digital, provides the user with access to the cost/performance advantages of new techniques while protecting the existing investment in applications and database software.

In the near future, configurations of the new processors will support Digital's ULTRIX-32 operating system for software development environments requiring a UNIX capability. VAXELN, Digital's real-time operating system also will be offered for the upper end of the VAXBI-based computers. This will bring the high processor and I/O power of these systems to high-performance real-time applications.

The company also announced its intention to provide a field upgrade options to expand VAX 8500 systems to the higher performance VAX 8550 computer, and to expand VAX 8500 systems to the higher performance VAX 8550 computer, and to expand VAX 8700 systems to the VAX 8800 computer within the same cabinets. McInnis pointed out that the expansion options allow users to grow their systems with full protection of their investments. "For example, the VAX 8700 is an ideal starter system for users with large applications who anticipate future need for the performance of a VAX 8800 system."

Digital announced the availability of larger memory for all VAXBI systems. Main memory for VAX 8200 and VAX 8300 systems can be expanded to 24 Mbytes using the new four Mbyte arrays; utilizing new 16 Mbyte memory arrays, main memory for the VAX 8500 and VAX 8550 systems can be expanded to 80 Mbytes; and the VAX 8700 and VAX 8800 systems can be expanded to 128 Mbytes with the new 16 Mbyte arrays.

These memory arrays are covered by lifetime service at no additional cost as long as they are installed in a VAX system covered under a Digital field service maintenance contract.

VAXcluster configurations are available for the new VAX systems as they are for all VAXBI systems. The VAXcluster capability allows users to tie together up to 16 VAX processors and intelligent high-speed disk controllers in powerful multiprocessor configurations.

By linking together VAX computers in a VAXcluster system, the user can extend his capabilities to greater-than-mainframe levels. The results are high levels of performance, extensive sharing of files among many processors, greater system availability, and long-term system incremental growth.

Digital also announced the DECserver 200 today, a new compact 8-line terminal server with modem control that allows users to connect a wide range of terminals into high-speed Ethernet local area networks easily and inexpensively.

An Ethernet local area connection is standard with the newly announced systems and across the VAXBI line. Ethernet is the only internationally recognized LAN standard. Digital is the recognized leader in flexible, comprehensive data communications technology. The company has installed more than 50,000 Ethernet connections supporting multiple networking protocols. Digital's Networking Architecture adheres to the Open Systems Interconnect model for international multi-vendor networks and supports gateways which enable links with IBM SNA and X.25 packet switching networks, among others, as well as powerful wide-area networking under DECnet.

The full software compatibility of all VAX computer systems from MicroVAX II to the VAX 8800 systems and VAXcluster systems, places Digital in a unique position in the computer industry, according to Hughes. "Digital's product offering provides the user with more cost-effective, fully compatible, solutions -- stand-alone or integrated -- than any other manufacturer. In addition to full transportability of application programs across the VAX family, our DECnet networking products enable computer resources to be easily shared in local or wide-area networks."

Hughes pointed out that other Digital products are also compatible with the company's VAX computer line, providing more alternatives for special user needs. "Digital's VAX family is complemented by the company's PDP-11s, which are widely used in VAX networks to control machine tools, acquire and analyze data, route messages, and distribute information. Digital's ongoing commitment to continuing development of PDP-11s, is exemplified by the introduction of the MicroPDP-11/53 in June."

Digital Equipment Corp., headquartered in Maynard, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of networked computer systems and associated peripheral equipment, and the leader in systems integration with its networks, communications, and software products.


VAX, VMS, VAXELN, VAXBI, VAXcluster, DECnet, ULTRIX, MicroVAX, ALL-IN-1, UNIBUS, PDP, and MicroPDP-11 are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corp.

IBM is a trademark of International Business Machines.

UNIX is a trademark of AT&T Bell Laboratories.

/CONTACT: Joseph C. Nahil, 617-264-1542; or Stephen A. Kallis Jr., 617-264-1669; of Digital Equipment Corp./

Copyright PR Newswire 1986 wire