Big Blue pushes ahead with OS/2 Warp SMP

IBM is set to ship symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support for OS/2 Warp Server in late September.

IBM is set to ship symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support for OS/2 Warp Server in late September, and the company has again taken issue with speculation that it is not committed to the network operating system (NOS).

OS/2 Warp Server SMP will scale to as many as 16 processors, although the focus is on four-processor systems. A beta version of the product performed "as advertised", according to a user at one beta site. "None of the applications I had failed at all," says William Hidden, a software designer at Chiron Diagnostics, a medical equipment supplier in Medfield, Massachusetts.

Chiron runs applications such as email on IBM's operating system and may develop a blood oxygen level measurement application for OS/2 Warp. "SMP seemed to take a lot of memory, but I expected that," Hidden says, citing a 15% to 20% increase in RAM consumption when deploying SMP on two processors.

Despite the imminent arrival of SMP support, industry analyst Will Zachman, a longtime supporter of OS/2, last week openly questioned IBM's commitment to the operating system in a posting on CompuServe. But company representatives are stressing that OS/2 Warp generates US$1 billion in annual revenues for IBM and the corporate commitment remains strong.

"This has been the single busiest year in the history of OS/2," according to a company official, in Austin, Texas.

Hidden says he did not fear any decrease in IBM's commitment to OS/2. SMP support has been considered important for OS/2 Warp Server to compete against rival NOSes. Microsoft and Novell both support SMP in Windows NT and NetWare, respectively.

The SMP support will be a free add-on product to Warp Server Advanced, but the company may bundle it in the future. OS/2 Warp Server SMP also features enhancements such as high-performance memory-tuning optimisation and expanded virtual memory support.

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