Auckland University will go live in September with its Numa-Q box, the first of Sequent’s latest symmetrical multiprocessing computers bought in the Asia-Pacific region.
The university will use the new hardware to run mission-critical financial and human resources management software from PeopleSoft. It will replace a seven-year-old IBM ES9000 main-frame running Dun & Bradstreet’s Millennium.
Auckland University already uses Sequent Symmetry machines to run the student record administration system Sears.
Sears was plagued with problems late last year and crashed during enrolment. This was blamed on a number of factors including power surges and software bugs. However, Phil Venville, the university’s IT director, says the Symmetry high-end servers have proved to be a good platform for delivering the complex Sears system, which was bought from the University of Waikato and modified to suit the Auckland environment.
“When we chose Numa-Q, we had already experienced working with Sequent architecture and were very satisfied with the company and its products. We had no doubts about our decision to purchase Numa-Q. The bench-mark results had proved the system was exactly what we needed to deliver PeopleSoft.”
Meanwhile, the Numa-Q runs up to 12 times faster than the Symmetry line which is based on symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and university staff are acquainted with the Sequent architecture, according to Venville.
He says it was a natural progression to purchase the Numa-Q to run the PeopleSoft application, because Numa is an even more powerful technology.
Both Sears and PeopleSoft run on Sequent’s flavour of Unix, Dynix/ptx, but the databases are different. While Sears uses the Ingres database from Computer Associates, the university has chosen Informix for PeopleSoft.
The university’s Numa-Q box has 60Gb of storage, and eight processors in two four-processor boards. The processor power can be increased by adding another quad-processor board.
This scalability feature was of particular importance to the university, which was unsure of how its workload would grow, according to -Venville.
The Numa-Q services a client-server system comprising several thousand users and a mix of PC and Macintosh computers.
The Numa-Q’s basic building block is the four-processor Intel Pentium Pro board which Sequent has developed to meet enterprise computing requirements.
It can connect multiple quads (four-processor Pentium Pro building blocks) via Sequent’s interconnect technology IQ-Link, moving data between boards at a rate of 1Gb per second.