Digital Announces Plans To Open VMS

Introduces Major Price/Performance Gains For New VAX 6000, VAXStation 3100, and MicroVAX 3100 Systems

MAYNARD, Mass., Oct. 25, 1990 -- PRNewswire -- Digital Equipment Corporation (NYSE: DEC) today enhanced its leadership VAX VMS line with the two additional capabilities users most want -- openness and better price/performance. The company announced increased support for open system standards on the VMS operating system, along with significant performance increases and price enhancements for three new VAX systems. At the same time, Digital announced its intention to incorporate RISC CPU technology into VAX VMS systems.

According to Kenneth H. Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, "The enormous popularity of the VAX computer over the past 13 years is due primarily to the software it runs. VAX VMS software provides leadership dependability, growth, networking, and software development. Openness and price/performance enhancements will give users strong incentives to move to the VAX VMS platform, or to add to their current VAX VMS installations. This announcement reflects Digital's growth-oriented posture."

The VMS operating system will provide support for key standards (POSIX) from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), X/Open, and the Open Software Foundation (OSF). Digital also will apply for certification and "branding" of VMS by X/Open, the international standards consortium. The support for open systems standards will make VMS the operating system of choice for users who want application portability and full-function computing.

Today's announcement included major performance and price/ performance gains for three of its most popular systems -- the VAX 6000, VAXstation 3100, and MicroVAX 3100. The new VAX 6000 series of systems offers triple the I/O throughput of current VAX 6000 models by using RISC I/O technology. The new VAX 6000 model 500 systems offer 85 percent more CPU performance for only an 18 percent price increment, and the popular Models 410 and 310 are reduced in price by an average of 27 percent. A new model of the VAXstation 3100 workstation offers twice the performance of current VAXstation models for only $4,000 more. The new MicroVAX 3100 system offers 45 percent more performance at the same price as its predecessor.


Digital announced it intends to add support to the VMS operating system for the widely accepted Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) standards of the IEEE. Next quarter, Digital will field-test the POSIX standards 1003.1, 1003.2, and 1003.4 on VMS systems, and will deliver all three simultaneously in 1991.

Digital also announced it intends to apply for certification and branding of the VMS operating system by X/Open, the non-profit consortium of many of the world's major information system suppliers. X/Open defines a Common Application Environment (CAE) based on defacto and international standards. The company will incorporate into VMS standards outlined by the latest version of the X/Open Portability Guide (XPG3), to receive X/Open base system branding. "X/Open is extremely enthusiastic and very supportive of Digital Equipment Corporation's strategy to brand VMS," said Geoff Morris, President of X/Open.

Digital also announced it intends to support key standards from OSF's Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) on VMS systems. The Distributed Computing Environment, a highly integrated set of technologies that address transparent computing in multivendor environments, is an integrated set of open systems technologies built in accordance with OSF compliance guidelines. Digital has already announced VMS support for OSF/Motif, OSF's industry- standard graphical user interface, and currently is shipping it to software developers.

"Computer users are becoming more knowledgeable about 'open systems.' They know the keys to openness are standard programming interfaces, standard networking protocols, and standard user interfaces. Users want the ability to interoperate -- to share data and interact with other applications on any computer over the network; the ability to port -- to take an application written for one system and run it on another; and to take users already familiar with one system and quickly bring them up to speed on another," observed William R. Demmer, Vice President of VAX VMS Systems and Servers.

Digital has long been a leader in implementing standards on all key fronts. In fact, most of the open systems standards currently supported or announced for the VMS operating system are Network Application Support (NAS) services. They include OSF/Motif, POSIX, and elements of DCE. The standards that comprise NAS enable applications to interoperate easily in an open, multivendor computing environment with Digital systems, MS-DOS PCs, Apple Macintosh systems, UNIX workstations, IBM mainframes, and Cray super-computers.

"With the increased openness and added performance of today's announcement, VAX VMS becomes the industry's only computer line to offer the combination of openness, exceptional dependability, industry-leading networking, balanced performance, excellent price/performance and exceptional compatible growth across the line," Demmer emphasized. "With portability, it will be as easy to port many UNIX applications to VMS as it is to port those applications between versions of UNIX. When UNIX applications are ported to VAX VMS systems, they will automatically benefit from the high functionality VAX VMS computing environment. For example, they will automatically get dependable data protection from clustering, shadowing, journaling and automatic failover."

"Of course portability works both ways," Demmer added. "It will also be easy to port applications from VMS. We are confident that the functionality and quality of the VMS operating system -- and its accelerating price/performance -- will cause it to flourish in this more open environment."


The new systems announced today are aimed at a wide range of uses, including distributed production systems applications, client/server computing in office, commercial and technical applications, and software development environments. Announced today were:

-- the VAX 6000 Model 500 general purpose mid-range systems, that triple the I/O throughput, double the memory capacity, and deliver 85 to 100 percent faster CPU performance than the previous Model 400 systems -- at a price increment of only 16 to 18 percent. CPU performance ranges from 13 to 72 VUPS (VAX Units of Performance) in a six-processor model. VAX 6000 systems, with exceptional I/O, balanced performance, and expandability, excel at production system applications and demanding server applications. The new systems also offer optional dual vector processing for numeric-intensive applications, with vector performance of up to 180 MFLOPS (single precision) peak performance. VAX 6000 Model 500 systems are priced from $296,000 for a system without disk, and $225,000 for a VAXserver system. All systems are available immediately;

-- significant I/O performance and price/performance gains across the entire line of VAX 6000 systems -- triple the I/O throughput; double the memory capacity up to 512 Mbytes; and quadruple the disk capacity -- now up to 5 terabytes. The newly configured VAX 6000 Model 310 system with enhanced I/O has been reduced in price by 30 percent to $135,000 and is available immediately. VAXserver systems, also available immediately, are priced starting at $116,000. The newly configured VAX 6000 Model 410 system with enhanced I/O is priced at $193,000 -- 23 percent lower than previous Model 410 systems -- and is available immediately. The company also announced enhanced storage I/O performance with the ESE20 solid state disk that now supports over 1200 I/O requests per second, a 400-percent increase in I/O performance;

-- Based on a common platform, all 10,000-plus installed VAX 6000 systems can be upgraded in their original cabinets, in the field, to the CPU, memory, and I/O performance levels of the new VAX 6000 systems. This degree of investment protection is unprecedented in the industry. For example, users who bought a VAX 6000 Model 210 system two and a half years ago can now upgrade to 25 times the performance. A special upgrade offer, in effect until Jan. 25, 1991 allows current VAX 6000 users to take advantage of the new, more powerful VAX 6000 Model 500 features at substantial savings;

-- the new VAXstation 3100 Model 76 desktop workstation, that increases system performance of the largest selling VAXstation by 100 percent -- directly addressing VAXstation customers' need for higher performance. Digital continues to take the VAXstation family to higher levels of performance and improved price/performance, while protecting VMS software investments. Based on the CMOS VAX chipset used in VAX 4000 systems, this new family member dramatically increases application throughput to VMS users. Configurations range from single-plane monochrome systems to high-performance, graphics-accelerated 8-plane color systems offering high-resolution video display. Prepackaged configurations of the new system start at $11,950. Existing systems can be upgraded with system upgrade packages priced at $6,000;

-- the new MicroVAX 3100 Models 10e and 20e systems replace the current MicroVAX 3100 Model 10 and 20 systems. The MicroVAX 3100 systems are Digital's highest unit volume, lowest priced multi-user and server-based VAX systems. Digital has been successfully targeting these systems for distributed computing environments, small businesses, and companies with large numbers of branch offices needing functionality beyond that offered by PCs and PC-based local area networks. The new models offer a 45-percent CPU performance improvement at the same price. The new systems include a faster processing speed of 3.5 VUPS, optional two synchronous communications lines for enhanced wide-area communications and user support, a maximum storage capacity of 4.8 Gbytes up from 1.5 Gbytes, and a new 1.2 Gbyte digital audio tape for improved backup performance. The VAXserver 3100 includes support for multi-user systems, workstations, Macintosh systems, and PCs.

Four companies concurrently announced that they are standardizing on the new MicroVAX 3100 system as their Branch Office system to be deployed at remote sites numbering from 50 to 650 locations. Available immediately, the new systems are priced from $8,184 for the MicroVAX 3100 and $6,210 for the VAXserver 3100; and

-- the new PCLAN/Server 3100e, a packaged PC LAN server that includes factory-installed PC integration software (VAX VMS Services for MS-DOS and DECnet/PCSA Client Software). It provides information and resource sharing services for up to 70 simultaneous personal computers in a local or wide-area network. Priced from $13,125, it is available now.

Today's new products are part of Digital's ongoing strategy to incorporate the latest technologies for continual performance and price/performance gains for VAX VMS customers. Previously, new technologies such as ECL, CMOS, symmetric multiprocessing and vectors have been smoothly integrated into VAX VMS systems to increase price/performance, while maintaining compatibility. Digital is now phasing in high-performance RISC technology to further accelerate performance. Today's major I/O performance gains in the VAX 6000 line are made possible by RISC I/O technology, just as Digital has used RISC I/O technology in the VAX 4000 and VAX 9000 systems.

As the next step, Digital announced today its intention to phase in RISC CPU technology beginning in two to three years. VAX VMS systems based on RISC will be compatible with today's VAX VMS systems. According to Demmer, "Customers can feel confident that the investment they make in VAX VMS systems today will be enhanced tomorrow, and into the next century."

Digital Equipment Corporation, headquartered in Maynard, Mass., is the leading worldwide supplier of networked computer systems and services. Digital offers a full range of computing solutions and systems integration for the entire enterprise -- from the desktop to the data center.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information on all products is included in the fact sheets and background material.

All prices are in U.S. dollars; all system and server prices include one-year product foundation warranty.


NOTE: The following are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corp: ALL-IN-1, Network Application Support, VAX, VAXserver, VMS, ULTRIX,

Third-party Trademarks: MS-DOS is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.

UNIX is a registered trademark of American Telephone & Telegraph Company in the United States and other countries.

OSF and OSF/Motif are trademarks of the Open Software Foundation.

CONTACT: General contact: Sarah Miller, 508-264-5420; VAX 6000: Ruth Porter, 508-264-5637; VAXstation 3100 Model 76: Glen Zimmerman, 508-493-9857; MicroVAX 3100 and VAXserver 3100: Karen Quatromoni, 508-493-1306; PCLAN/Server 3100e: Ralph Cohen, 508-493-2960; Opening VMS, including VMS/POSIX and X/Open's XPG3: Linda Giragosian, 603-884-3196; Storage and Memory Products: Irv Lyles 508-493-1850, all above contacts of Digital Equipment Corporation/ 11:41 EDT

Copyright (c) 1990, PR Newswire