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Alphacide is 'palatable'

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Compaq showed journalists around a London demonstration facility yesterday in an event that was far more interesting in showing how Big Q is changing itself, than for what was said about the technology on show.

Assorted hacks were shown a demo of how Compaq could support Customer Relation Management in a way that integrates systems (such as call centre records and Web site logging) in real-time.

This is part of what Compaq describes as the Zero Latency Enterprise. The hardware test-bed behind this marketecture features an integration of 128 processor NonStop Himalaya (with 256GB of memory and 111TB of disc), eight processor AlphaServer and ProLiant clusters.

This monster set-up is actually in America and what Compaq's UK customers see is a multi-screen representation of data obtained from the system, which is designed to showcase Compaq's ability to provide a solution that would fit anyone's ecommerce requirements.

"Solution" is the key word here and the presentation by Compaq (the first we've attended since its decision to send Alpha to sleep with Intel's fishes) suggests the firm is taking chief executive Michael Capellas' plan to transform Big Q into a services and solutions giant to heart.

Compaq's AlphaServer product manager Richard George insisted that Q would protect customers' investments in such systems and promised source code compatibility between applications on Alpha and Itanium.

He confidently predicted the move to Itanic would be "reasonably palatable". Although we've reported that some Compaq customers who think otherwise.

Compaq will bring its clustering technology and Alpha compiler technology to IA-64 and George hinted that it, and not Hewlett-Packard (which co-developed the IA-64 architecture) were now Intel's favourite partner.

"The way forward is to deliver the underlying solution - not just tin", said George.

Compaq - and before it Digital - is said to have invested $15 billion in the Alpha processor before canning it last month. Now, it's tin. And that's official. ®

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