Digital Announces the Alpha Open Computing Architecture, the World's Fastest Microprocessor, and New Business Practices
Lays the foundation for 21st century network computing with a solid bridge from the present.
HUDSON, MA -- February 25, 1992 -- Digital Equipment Corporation today announced Alpha, its program for 21st century computing. According to Kenneth H. Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, "Alpha is a totally new, open computing architecture that will be the foundation for advanced 21st century computing. It will give computer users a clear and consistent growth path from today's computing technology to the benefits of advanced 21st century computer technology. The Alpha program is a major element in the new, more competitive Digital Equipment Corporation, and we believe it will significantly fuel Digital's growth in the coming years."
"This new architecture will, over time, address the needs of a broad range of computer users by providing systems that span the desktop to the supercomputer. Alpha will offer users the flexibility to deploy current applications on popular operating environments, beginning with OSF/1 and VMS. It will enhance and extend the capability of today's Digital products. Customers can continue to buy today's leadership VMS and UNIX systems from Digital knowing they have a clear entry path into 21st century computing," added William Demmer, vice president of Digital's VAX VMS Systems and Servers group. "The beauty of Alpha is that it opens the future with a solid bridge from the present," he added.
Announced today were:
The Alpha architecture. This advanced, full 64-bit Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) architecture is optimized for speed, engineered to support multiple operating systems, and designed to increase performance by a factor of 1000 over its anticipated 25-year life.
The first Alpha product -- Digital's 21064-AA RISC microprocessor. This 150-MegaHertz microprocessor is the first in a family of full 64-bit chips with address space many thousands of times larger than 32-bit implementations from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun. The new chip has demonstrated performance at 200 MegaHertz, and over time Digital will offer versions of this microprocessor at various speeds.
Evaluation quantities of the 21064-AA microprocessor are available now. It is priced at $3375 each in units of 1 to 100; $1650 in units of 101 to 1,000; and $1559 for over 1,000. Quantity shipments will begin in July, 1992.
The new RISC microprocessor chips are manufactured at the company's high-volume, state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Hudson, Massachusetts, and South Queensferry, Scotland.
New business practices to achieve the broadest possible use of the Alpha architecture, and to make the widest range of software available on Alpha. Digital will sell Alpha at all levels of integration -- chip, board, and system -- to other computer companies and to OEMs. Digital also will license its operating systems (including DEC OSF/1 and VMS), compilers, and layered software products.
To ensure a broad applications portfolio, Digital is offering a comprehensive support program to help leading software companies quickly move up to Alpha. Thirty Alpha Upgrade Centers are being located in the US, Europe and Asian Rim, staffed by software support personnel with expertise in VMS, ULTRIX, and DEC OSF/1. Complete documentation, seminars and training session are available now, and seed Alpha system will be available this summer. The Alpha Upgrade Program already is underway with many leading software companies. Major vendors supporting the Alpha platform will be highlighted at DECWORLD '92 beginning in April.
A variety of ways for customers to enhance their VMS and UNIX computing environments with Alpha. Customers can develop and run applications on today's leadership VAX and DECsystem products with the assurance that they easily will be able to add Alpha systems into their computing environments. Alpha systems will provide data, image, source code, and user interface compatibility with VAX systems running open VMS and DECsystem products running DEC OSF/1. Alpha systems will network with these products to share information and processing tasks, and will work in VAXcluster configurations. Common buses for VAX, DECsystem, and Alpha systems means that many peripherals will be able to be used between systems.
A complete portfolio of service programs for users and other vendors who incorporate Alpha technology into their products. Digital will support customers with services ranging from consulting to training, systems management, and integration and upgrade services. Digital will support vendors during product design and implementation. Through OEMs, VARs, or direct distribution channels, Digital also will provide services for vendors' Alpha-based products.
Alpha will extend the ability of Digital's current software systems environment to address major business opportunities. Supercomputer or large mainframe applications -- seismic data analysis, econometric forecasting, molecular modeling, engineering design verification, and many others -- will be able to run on Alpha at a fraction of traditional mainframe price per unit of performance. Alpha will expand the market for networks of high performance distributed production systems and servers, replacing mainframes. The powerful new single-chip Alpha microprocessor will open new markets for embedded OEM applications and board-level products. Alpha will provide the power for emerging personal use applications that are beyond the capability of most of today's PCs, such as voice and video, visualization systems, imaging, and artificial intelligence. With Digital's NAS (Network Application Support), customers will have the flexibility to integrate leading-edge, Alpha-based applications with their current applications environment.
"Alpha is based on the expertise Digital has gained from 35 years of providing systems and networking based on leadership architectural design," noted Robert B. Palmer, Digital's vice president of manufacturing. "In addition, Digital has 15 years of experience in designing and delivering chip technology, including leading-edge CMOS technology. We have some of the industry's most advanced fabrication technology, and most experienced chip design teams using a leading-edge suite of CAD tools, involved in delivering the world's fastest RISC microprocessor."
Digital Equipment Corporation, headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts, is the leading worldwide supplier of networked computer systems, software, and services. The company pioneered and leads the industry in interactive, distributed and multivendor computing. Digital and its partners deliver the power to use the best integrated solutions - from desktop to data center - in open information environments.
Note to Editors:
DEC, DECsystem, DECWORLD, ULTRIX, VAX, VAXcluster and VMS are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.
OSF/1 is a trademark of Open Software Foundation, Inc.
UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
Hewlett-Packard is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company.
IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.
SUN is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Digital Equipment Corporation
Product Name: 21064 150 MHz Microprocessor
Digital's 21064 150 MHz microprocessor is the first in a family of chips to implement Digital's Alpha architecture. ("Alpha" is Digital's internal code name.) The 21064 microprocessor is a .75 micron CMOS-based super-scalar, super-pipelined processor using dual instruction issue and a 150 MHz cycle time (contact Digital for information on faster clock rate implementations). The Alpha architecture is a 64-bit RISC architecture designed with particular emphasis on speed, multiple instruction issue, and multiple processors.
21064 MICROPROCESSOR KEY FEATURES:
Implements the Advanced Alpha RISC Architecture
3.3-volt supply voltage
Privileged Architecture Library Code (PALcode) supports:
On-chip write buffer with four 32-byte entries
On-chip pipelined floating point unit
On-chip 8 Kbyte data cache
On-chip 8 Kbyte instruction cache
On-chip demand paged memory management unit
On-chip parity and ECC generators and checkers
On-chip internal clock generator provides:
Programmable on-chip performance counters measure CPU and system performance
Selectable data bus width speed, 64 or 128 bits, 75 MHz to 18.75 MHz
External cache memory support:
Chip and module level test support
Power Supply Vss 0.0 V, Vdd 3.3 V +/-5%
Operating Temperature Tj max = 85 deg. C
Storage Temperature Range -55 deg. C to 125 deg. C
Power Dissipation @Vdd = 3.45V 23 W typical, 27.5 W maximum Speed = 6.6 ns
Die Size 13.9mm x 16.8mm
Transistor Count 1.68 million
Package 431 pin PGA
Alpha Architecture Summary:
The 21064 microprocessor implements the Alpha architecture. The Alpha architecture supports:
A 64-bit virtual address space
Separate integer and floating point registers
32-bit (longword) and 64-bit (quadword) integer along with 32-bit and 64-bit IEEE and VAX floating-point data types
Privileged Architecture Library Code (PALcode)
Instruction Set: Alpha instructions are all 32 bits in length using four different instruction formats specifying 0, 1, 2, or 3 five-bit register fields. Each format uses a 6-bit opcode.
Conditional branch instructions test a register for positive/negative, zero/nonzero, or even/odd, and perform a PC relative branch. Unconditional branch instructions perform either a PC relative or absolute jump using an arbitrary 64-bit register value. They can update a destination register with a return address.
Load/Store Instructions can move either 32-bit or 64-bit quantities. 8-bit and 16-bit load/store operations are supported through an extensive set of in-register byte manipulations.
Integer Operate Instructions manipulate full 64-bit values, and include a full complement of arithmetic, compare, logical, and shift instructions. In addition there are three 32-bit integer operates: add, subtract, and multiply.
The Alpha architecture provides scaled add/subtract for quick subscript calculation, 128-bit multiply for division by a constant and multiprecision arithmetic, conditional moves for avoiding branches, and an extensive set of in-register byte manipulation instructions.
Floating-Point Operate Instructions include four complete sets of instructions for IEEE single, IEEE double, VAX F_floating and VAX G_floating arithmetic. In addition to arithmetic instructions there are also instructions for conversions between floating and integer values including the VAX D_floating data type.
Privileged Architecture Library Code: PALcode is a privileged library of software that atomically performs such functions as the dispatching and servicing of interrupts, exceptions, task switching, and additional privileged and unprivileged user instructions as specified by operating systems using the CALL_PAL instruction.
PALcode is the only method of performing some operations on the hardware. In addition to the entire Alpha instruction set, a set of implementation specific instructions is provided.
PALcode runs in an environment with privileges enabled, instruction stream mapping disabled, and interrupts disabled. Disabling memory mapping allows PALcode to support functions such as TB miss routines. Disabling interrupts allows the instruction stream to provide multi-instruction sequences as atomic operations.
Memory Management: The Alpha memory management architecture is designed to provide a large address space for instructions and data, convenient and efficient sharing of instructions and data, independent read and write access protection, and flexibility through programmable PALcode support.
Digital's 21064 microprocessor consists of four independent functional units: the integer execution unit (Ebox), floating point unit (Fbox), the load/store or address unit (Abox), and the branch unit. Other sections include the central control unit (Ibox) and the I and D cache.
The Ebox contains a 64-bit, fully pipelined integer execution data path including: adder, logic box, barrel shifter, byte extract and mask, and independent integer multiplier. The Ebox also contains a 32-entry 64-bit integer register file.
The Fbox contains a fully pipelined floating point unit and independent divider, supporting both IEEE and VAX floating point data types. IEEE single-precision and double-precision floating point data types are supported. VAX F_floating and G_floating data types are fully supported with limited support for the D_floating data type.
The Abox contains five major sections: address translation data path, load silo, write buffer, Data cache (Dcache), and the external bus interface unit (BIU). The Abox supports all integer and floating point load and store instructions, including address calculation and translation, and cache control logic.
The Ibox performs instruction fetch, resource checks, and dual instruction issue to the Ebox, Abox, Fbox, or branch unit. In addition, the Ibox controls pipeline stalls, aborts, and restarts.
Pipeline Organization: The 21064 microprocessor uses a seven-stage pipeline for integer operate and memory reference instructions, and a ten-stage pipeline for floating point operate instructions. The Ibox maintains state for all pipeline stages to track outstanding register writes.
Cache Organization: The 21064 microprocessor contains two on-chip caches, data cache (D-cache) and instruction cache (I-cache). The chip also supports an external cache. The D-cache contains 8 Kbytes and is a write-through, direct-mapped, read-allocate physical cache with 32-byte blocks. The I-cache contains 8 Kbytes and is a physical direct-mapped cache with 32-byte blocks.
The 21064 chip supports external cache built from off-the-shelf static RAMs. The 21064 chip directly controls the RAMs using its programmable external cache interface, allowing each implementation to make its own external cache speed and configuration trade-offs.
The external cache interface supports cache sizes from 0 to 8 Mbytes and a range of operating speeds that are sub-multiples of the chip clock.
Virtual Address Space: The virtual address is a 64-bit unsigned integer that specifies a byte location within the virtual address space. The 21064 microprocessor checks all 64 bits of a virtual address and implements a 43-bit subset of the address space. The 21064 supports a physical address space of 16 Gbytes.
PRICING: Samples (through June 1992) $3375 each. Volume quantities (July 1992) starting at $1650 (1,000 pieces).
AVAILABILITY: Sample parts available February 1992 for customer evaluation. Quantities to support customers' volume ramps available in July 1992.
# # #
For Further Information Contact our Hotline:
1-800-DEC-2515 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf TDD)
508-568-6868 (local number)
Note to Editors:
DEC, the Digital logo, VAX and VMS are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.
OSF/1 is a registered trademark of Open Software Foundation, Inc.
UNIX is a registered trademark of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
Digital Equipment Corporation
Product Name: Digital Services Programs for Alpha
As technology advancement accelerates, services are fast becoming a differentiating factor in vendor selection. The Digital Alpha Services program will deliver services designed specifically to meet the needs of Alpha customers and will be a drawing card for selling the Digital Alpha technology.
To understand the services, it is important to look at the composition of the target market. These services are targeted for end users and third-party vendors who incorporate Alpha--from chips through computer systems--into their products. The products may be computer or non-computer products. Some examples would be: CSOs integrating Alpha computer products; CSOs with Software Applications running on Alpha systems, and End User enterprises planning for Alpha technology in the near and long term.
The service offerings are divided into two major programs:
ALPHA VENDOR SERVICES PROGRAM:
Alpha Vendor Services will be offered to vendors who buy Alpha chips and incorporate them into their own products. This will include computer or non-computer products.
Many of these services are an extension of the Multi-Vendor Support Services under which Digital supports more than 200 software products from 50 vendors and over 10,000 products from 1,000 hardware vendors. Building on knowledge bases and infrastructure that have already been established, Digital will provide "brand name" services on Digital and non-Digital products on behalf of vendors that have the Alpha chip imbedded in their products.
There will be a special Alpha Vendor Services Sales Program. This will help establish Alpha Service Partnerships with third parties which will be aimed at developing complementary service and support strategies, and enhancing and supplementing the 3rd parties' support offerings. Digital can provide support to the vendor during product design and implementation phases, and, if needed Digital can become the service provider for the vendor to their channels OEMs, VARs or to their end user customers, as mentioned above. This could include, for example, utilizing Digitals' global logistics and software update systems, and implementation of 800 number call handling.
Digital's Service Consultants will work with the Alpha vendor to plan design and implement a successful service program. This will allow Alpha vendors to sell more product and will greatly augment Digital Services' business.
Also a series of seminars and courses will begin in March for vendors that will be making use of Alpha technologies. The courses will cover all levels of integration from chips up through software solutions. They will include classes on the Alpha architecture, hardware implementation, system and application design implications, and the migration of existing applications to the new architecture.
ALPHA END-USER SERVICES:
Alpha End-User Services offerings range from consulting services through education and training, client/server management services to integration and migration services. They are designed to assist end users in the successful planning, design, implementation and management of a new Alpha environment.
Consulting services will be targeted at all levels--from CEOs and CIOs to operations managers choosing to migrate to Alpha systems based on their understanding of its impact on their business. Services will help them understand the power and benefits of Alpha and develop a strategy for migration. Prudent business practices call for transitioning to Alpha-based systems in a planned and orderly fashion. A well-thought-out migration strategy would start now, and evolve over a period of years. Code conversions and porting could be done immediately, and other activities would occur in a phased manner. In addition to the Alpha systems migration, the impact on personnel, operational procedures and facilities would also be addressed.
To support the migration program, there will be Alpha Migration Centers (AMC) which will act as resources for account teams, to support them on technical issues in the selling, planning, application migration and integration of Alpha systems. The centers will provide both pre- and post-sales support, from benchmarking to consulting.
With Digital as the customers' service provider or the customers' vendor of services, the customer can:
The benefit to software vendors is the use of the worldwide support network which enhances their product service coverage while it reduces their product support costs. A significant benefit to the vendors' customers is that one call to Digital covers their product in the Digital computing environment.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY:
Price and availability of services are quoted per request.
# # #
Editorial contact: Don Bradley
Digital Corporate Services
Backgrounder for Editors
Alpha: A Technology Foundation for the 21st Century
As the world approaches the 21st century, powerful factors are driving the industry toward new computing architectures. Power hungry applications, such as molecular modeling, econometric forecasting, visualization, and imaging, are gobbling up compute cycles and storage space at a rapidly accelerating pace. Global networking and open computing are changing the ground rules for communications and integration of applications across geographies. At the same time, technologies are changing much more rapidly and unpredictably than they were even five years ago.
In this environment, organizations have to look for more than evolutionary improvements within existing platforms to achieve their long-term goals and emerge as winners in tomorrow's markets. They need new technologies and computing architectures that are rich enough to deliver the performance and solution choices they require for the future, while protecting their investment in current technologies.
Digital continually evaluates the needs of its customers and the market--for today and the future. During this process, Digital has identified key characteristics that are essential for an optimal computing architecture for the future.
By the turn of the century organizations will find that a 64-bit architecture is essential. As computing demands increase, today's 32-bit architectures will limit current computing systems. Based on an historical "consumption" of 6/10ths of a bit per year, existing 32-bit architectures will soon run out of address space. However, moving from 32-bit to 64-bit addressing has a significant impact on software compatibility and represents a fundamental architecture change.
In existing architectures, performance improvements are derived primarily from increases in clock speed. The future will demand more. Computing performance in the industry has improved by a factor of 100 over the past ten years. Given the ever-accelerating rate of technical advancement and demand for performance, it is likely that an architecture with a 25-year horizon will need to scale over a performance range of at least 1,000. Clock speed increases will not be enough. Processors will have to issue multiple instructions at the same time and multiple chips will have to be strung together to share the work. New architectures will be needed to optimize these capabilities. Architectures of the future will also need the ability to run any operating system and any language. Today's architectures are optimized for only one or two languages and operating systems.
Speed barriers in today's architectures will also have to be eliminated. Most current architectures haven't anticipated the dramatic increase in chip speeds, especially in RISC chips. Inherent bottlenecks result, precluding efficient use of new technologies. In addition, customers will want performance based on world-class fabrication technologies. They will seek out architectures that are implemented in chips built by leading microprocessor manufacturers.
Alpha, Digital's new computing architecture for the 21st century, incorporates all of these essential characteristics. It is designed to deliver lasting solutions that will endure over the next 25 years. Alpha computing products, based on this architecture, will help organizations manage their global operations, achieve reduced costs, comply with regulations, and share information with customers and suppliers. These products can help scientists, educators, health care professionals, engineers, and many others accomplish their work more easily, productively, and at a lower cost. Alpha's open approach will deliver solutions that encompass multivendor products in a global, distributed, and cost effective computing environment.
Alpha represents Digital's commitment to be the technology and solutions leader in open computing through the 1990s and beyond. Alpha is an internal code name for three things. First, it is Digital's new, open, 64-bit Reduced Instruction Set (RISC) computing architecture. This advanced architecture provides very high levels of performance and reliability. It is open, scalable, and designed to endure over a period of 25 years or more. Second, Alpha is a single-chip implementation of the new architecture, offering double the speed of any commercially available competing technology today. And third, Alpha will be a family of systems, enabling technologies, and services that span the desktop to the data center.
Investment protection is a key Alpha design feature. Through significant engineering efforts in hardware and software technologies, Digital will make it easy for customers--both VAX VMS and DECsystems OSF/1--to move smoothly to Alpha. This means that customers can satisfy their computing needs today from a wide range of Digital systems, and be assured of a clear and simple path to add Alpha systems to this environment as their needs change.
A NEW ARCHITECTURE
A computing architecture is a set of structural rules and interface standards for building computer systems with a similar look and feel. For example, IBM's System 360, Motorola's 68000, and Digital's PDP and VAX families of systems represent computing architectures. A computing architecture is important because it determines the limits of system performance and capacity, and is the basis for binary compatibility between products.
Digital's Alpha architecture is a robust, long-lasting architecture that provides both superior price performance and binary compatibility. It is a powerful foundation that subsequent layers of computing technology can leverage to satisfy changing customer requirements.
Digital's Alpha architecture incorporates flat 64-bit addressing that provides four billion times the address space of a 32-bit architecture. In addition to a virtually limitless address space, Alpha's high performance features, scalability, and "openness" make it the first architecture able to accommodate both technology and application changes through the next 25 years.
Digital has already demonstrated its ability to develop an architecture with long-term viability that spans multiple generations of semiconductor technology innovation. Digital's VAX systems have offered binary compatibility and high performance across a broad range of systems for 15 years, and will continue to do so for years to come. Alpha will follow Digital's industry-leading tradition of evolution based on architectural compatibility.
HIGH-SPEED PROCESSOR ON A CHIP
Digital's new RISC microprocessor, the 21064-AA, is the first product to implement the Alpha architecture. With a clock speed of 150 MegaHertz, it is the world's fastest microprocessor. By comparison, the fastest RISC microprocessors available today are approaching only 100 MegaHertz. The first chip-level design of the Alpha architecture has demonstrated performance at 200 MHz, and Digital plans to offer versions of the chip at different speeds over time.
The Alpha 21064-AA is a dual-issue processor--able to launch two instructions at once. It processes 64-bit virtual and physical addresses and 64-bit integers and floating point numbers.
Digital manufactures the Alpha 21064-AA in state-of-the-art facilities in Hudson, Massachusetts and South Queensferry, Scotland using the company's fourth generation of complementary metal oxide semiconductor chip technology (CMOS-4). This advanced process technology is tuned to very high-speed complex functions with high-speed on-chip memory, distinguishing it from the manufacturing processes of merchant semiconductor manufacturers. In addition, the CMOS-4 process produces chips with very high reliability. Because Digital 21064-AA chips are produced to run at 3.3 volts compared to the 5.0 volts common throughout the industry, they use less power and run cooler, making them more reliable than microprocessors of comparable speed. Also, single-chip implementations such as the Digital 21064-AA microprocessor, are inherently more reliable than multiple-chip processors.
Alpha's built-in scalability will be able to accommodate products from palmtop systems to supercomputers. Alpha is designed for a 1,000 times performance improvement--up to 400 billion instructions per second--during its lifetime. It can work as a single chip at the low end or with hundreds or thousands of chips in a massively parallel processing environment at the high end.
AN ENDURING TECHNOLOGY
In the future, organizations will increase their demands for open computing and integration of products from multiple vendors. At the same time, suppliers in the computing industry will require massive investments in core technologies to assure success. There will be a growing number of alliances and collaborations in many areas as suppliers realize that they can't do everything alone. The industry will continue to converge and only a few computing architectures will survive.
Digital has the leadership competency in core technologies and the resources to ensure that Alpha will endure. Digital's 35 years of experience in computer architecture and systems design made the Alpha architecture possible. Digital's semiconductor group, responsible for Alpha chip design and delivery, has a successful fifteen-year track record, and includes some of the industry's most experienced chip design and fabrication experts. In addition, Digital's extensive experience in networking, compilers, and enabling software, such as Network Application Support (NAS) and CASE tools, will contribute to a broad set of Alpha product offerings in the coming years.
To achieve the broadest possible use of the Alpha architecture with the widest range of operating environments, Digital is entering into new alliances. These will include licensing agreements with semiconductor manufacturers for the Alpha architecture as well as relationships with computer companies who will use Alpha chips in their systems. With Alpha, Digital will become a "merchant" company, selling chips in volume to the outside world. Digital is already working with Cray Research who will use Alpha chips in its new MPP supercomputer and Kubota Corporation who will use Alpha chips in building new, high-performance graphics workstations. Digital anticipates that others will soon take advantage of the Alpha technology.
Digital is also marketing the Alpha chip for use in embedded, technical original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications. To make a full range of applications, tailored to Alpha's strengths, available to customers, Digital is also working closely with software application developers on a support program to help software companies move their applications to Alpha.
A MIGRATION STRATEGY FOR INVESTMENT PROTECTION
Ensuring that Alpha products integrate seamlessly with other Digital platforms has been an Alpha design goal since its inception. Digital's migration strategy for Alpha will give customers, who own or buy a system from Digital today, a clear and simple path to add Alpha systems, as they become available over time, to their existing computing environments. Customer investments in applications and data, training, and peripherals will be preserved. No other vendor has provided this level of investment protection with its RISC offerings.
Built in data compatibility will allow customers to move information back and forth between VAX VMS and Alpha VMS systems. In addition, VAX VMS systems and Alpha systems will be able to share disks in a VAXcluster. Customers will be able to move information back and forth between DECsystems/DECstations running OSF/1 and Alpha systems running OSF/1 through similar data compatibility.
Source code compatibility will enable customers to run most VAX VMS programs on Alpha VMS systems following a simple re compile and re-link. This capability will empower Digital customers to redeploy existing applications on Alpha systems to accelerate performance. In addition, customers can use the VAX systems they buy today to develop applications to run on bothVAX and Alpha systems of tomorrow. Similar source code compatibility will allow customers to run their DECsystems/DECstations OSF/1 applications on Alpha systems running OSF/1 following a re-compile and re-link.
Through sophisticated Digital binary translators, customers will also be able to run most DECsystem/DECstation OSF/1 and VAX VMS program images on Alpha systems. These software tools will translate OSF/1 executable images forDECsystems/DECstations and VMS executable images for VAX to the corresponding executable images on Alpha. Using these features, customers can run applications on Alpha that they can't or don't want to re-compile and achieve performance comparable to the then-current OSF/1 or VMS systems.
In addition, Digital customers will benefit from common user interfaces and support for common peripherals. For example, all Alpha systems will provide DECwindows and Motif, eliminating the need for retraining of users who are already familiar with these environments. To protect customers' investments in peripherals, Alpha will support the Turbochannel, XMI, CI, SCSI, DSSI, and Future+ buses. Customers will be able to move many VAX or DECsystem/DECstation peripherals to Alpha systems at a time that makes the most business sense for them. Because peripherals often represent 50% or more of system cost, customers will derive a significant financial benefit through this compatibility.
SERVICE AND SUPPORT
Even the best technology is useful only if it can be maintained and used effectively. Training, consulting support, and maintenance services are vital to maximizing investment in today's advanced technologies. Digital's Alpha Services deliver support designed specifically to meet the needs of Alpha customers.
Through its Alpha Vendor/Channels Services, Digital will provide comprehensive support for vendors who buy and incorporate Alpha products in their own product offerings. Digital professionals will be available to assist vendors in designing, prototyping, testing, manufacturing, distributing, and servicing Alpha products. Vendors can take advantage of tailored supportpackages, consulting, and training programs. For example, Digital can help vendors plan successful service programs and even provide services, on Digital and non-Digital products, on behalf of vendors. Currently Digital supports more than 200 software products from 50 vendors and over 10,000 products from 1,000 hardware vendors.
Alpha End-User Services will help end users in planning, designing, implementing, and managing an Alpha environment. Service offerings will include consulting, education and training, client/server management services, integration and migration services, and others.
Alpha clearly positions Digital for the future. It is a technology foundation
supporting open computing, from the desktop to the data center, in the 1990s and
beyond. With Alpha, Digital will provide customers with technology, systems,and
services to achieve current and long-term business objectives and gain maximum competitive
68000 is a trademark of Motorola, Inc.