Microsoft Teams with Sequent to Bring NT into Data Center

Microsoft Corp. and Sequent Computer Systems Inc. (www.sequent.com) signed a pact to move Windows NT into the data center. Under terms of the agreement, Microsoft and Sequent will work on systems that will support millions of transactions and terabytes of data in mission-critical environments.

The joint effort was formed as Sequent entered the second phase of its NUMACenter strategy. NUMACenter 2.0 offers mixed Windows NT and Unix manageability, serviceability and availability.

"NUMACenter is about being able to mix NT in the same environment as Unix and being able to run mission critical applications in one managed network, with a single point of management," says Jeff Pancottine, vice president of global marketing at Sequent.

The NUMACenter environment is a framework of hardware, middleware, diagnostic and management tools centered on a mixed mode Unix and Windows NT network. Parts that make up the framework include consolidation of Xeon-based Unix and Windows NT server nodes in a single cabinet, shared EMC storage and backup facilities, and single logon and access to Unix files and print queues from Windows desktops.

Sequent’s NUMACenter runs Windows NT Server at the application level and Unix at the database tier. According to Sequent, NUMACenter reduces the price-to-performance ratio by leveraging Windows NT and costing less than an all Unix data center.

"Most enterprise class applications still reside on Unix, but customers are increasingly looking at apps written in NT," says James Gruener, senior analyst at the Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com). "NUMACenter provides a means to which customers can run an infrastructure through a centralized management interface."

The most significant update to the latest phase of Sequent’s strategy is the centralized management interface, the Advanced Detection Availability Manager (ADAM). ADAM is an interface for single point monitoring of storage area networks and mixed resources, including Windows NT and Unix quads, as well as all NUMACenter devices. Critical data also is concentrated through ADAM.

The final phase of the NUMACenter strategy, version 3.0, will be available when Intel Corp.’s IA-64 enters production. The most significant upgrade will be dynamic partitioning. Based on Intel’s IA-64 Merced chip, Sequent officials claim that NUMACenter 3.0 will be able to run either NT or Unix on any box.

"For Sequent, both the agreement with Microsoft and NUMACenter are part of a long-term strategy to help their customers adopt Microsoft products as they become more needed in the data center," says Aberdeen’s Gruener. "And now there is a role for NT in terms of how it plays in the data center."