BEAVERTON, Ore. Sequent Computer Systems Inc. Tuesday (June 29) declined comment on a report that IBM Corp. is interested in acquiring the company. The report first appeared in The Wall Street Journal. IBM officials also declined to comment.
Conventional industry thinking is painting a possible takeover as a way for IBM to stretch out its server line with the high-end multiprocessing machines Sequent is known for.
However, IBM's interest may be fueled largely by Sequent's long-standing relationship with Intel. That's because IBM has been gearing up to support Intel's IA-64 architecturethe 64-bit instruction set that will be the basis of Intel's upcoming Merced and McKinley microprocessors.
IBM itself is no slouch in multiprocessing. For example, it recently introduced the BM RS/6000 Model H70, a 64-bit, one to four-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) server. But Sequent's engineers could kick that expertise up to a higher level.
Sequent built what it claims was the first symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) system in 1983. The company has also championed non-uniform memory access (NUMA) technology, which is intended to speed memory access in SMP systems.
Moreover, IBM currently has at least four separate server architectures to support: AS/400, S/390, Power (which is used in the RS/6000 machines) and Intel. Current industry thinking tends to foresee a shakeout in platforms, rather than a proliferation.
On the marketing side, IBM currently offers Sequent's DYNIX/ptx operating system as a database aid to its enterprise customers. On the IA-64 software front, IBM is already preparing for IA-64 by porting its Unix-based AIX operating system to the Intel platform.
Notably, Sequent chairman Casey Powell spent nine years at Intel, while vice president of engineering Dale Goebel is an IBM alumnus.