Tandem-badged SGIs

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SAQ
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Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby SAQ » Tue May 12, 2009 5:05 pm

Shel's post of his Tandem-badged Challenge started me wondering: Does anyone know the reason Tandem decided to re-badge SGI machines? It seems as though the only similarity is that they both run MIPS processors, since Tandem's other offerings were mostly fault-tolerant and based around Guardian rather than UNIX. How did IRIX boxes fit in with Tandem's other offerings (especially given that IRIX in the early '90s wasn't very fault-tolerant and could easily get in "trouble")?
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby zizban » Tue May 12, 2009 5:43 pm

Mind share? SGI was huge back then.

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby hamei » Tue May 12, 2009 7:23 pm

zizban wrote:Mind share? SGI was huge back then.

In a bad way ? Otherwise why would you take off a famous name and put on a less famous one ?

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby zizban » Tue May 12, 2009 7:34 pm

Got me. The world is mysterious.

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby josehill » Tue May 12, 2009 8:03 pm

hamei wrote:
zizban wrote:Mind share? SGI was huge back then.

In a bad way ? Otherwise why would you take off a famous name and put on a less famous one ?

Depends on the market. SGI was about to make a play for the server market, and Tandem had long standing "mind share" in some places that a flashy graphics provider didn't, e.g. financial services, so why not let them sell some kit for you?

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby SAQ » Wed May 13, 2009 11:02 am

josehill wrote:Depends on the market. SGI was about to make a play for the server market, and Tandem had long standing "mind share" in some places that a flashy graphics provider didn't, e.g. financial services, so why not let them sell some kit for you?


Which makes sense from SGIs standpoint, but Tandem was well established in high-reliability markets, so the excursion into high-performance technical computing seems odd to me.
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby SAQ » Wed May 13, 2009 11:13 am

I did find a hint that the Tandem SGIs might have shipped with something called "High-Availability Transforming Software".

Anyone here know anything about this SW?
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby nekonoko » Wed May 13, 2009 11:31 am

SAQ wrote:I did find a hint that the Tandem SGIs might have shipped with something called "High-Availability Transforming Software".

Anyone here know anything about this SW?



I don't, but it does make sense that the Tandem SGIs were shipped as a complete software/hardware solution - the badging just kept the total package under a single banner.
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby recondas » Wed May 13, 2009 11:33 am

SAQ wrote:Anyone here know anything about this SW?

That the marketing acronym was HATS? ;)

I found this *very brief* mention in a resume:
Extended the High Availability Transforming Software (HATS) Remote Data Mirroring subsystem, which replicates application
data onto backup machines,.......
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/11/a2/568

and this publicity oriented blurb from the period <tho the pricing info is probably most interesting>: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tandem_ad ... ty_servers

This one makes it sound like a three-way Tandem/Oracle/SGI integration - also kind of interesting when read in the light of the Oracle buys Sun thread on nekochan: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... _16867913/

There's a more wordy <if less direct> discussion in this document - the referenced quote is from page 245:
The three components described in this chapter have been used within AT&T and are also available from Tandem Computers Incorporated as a product named HATS (High-Availability Transforming Software).
http://www.research.att.com/~gsf/public ... 1995-1.pdf
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby josehill » Wed May 13, 2009 2:28 pm

At the time, SGI was touting benchmarks that Challenge L and XL were the fastest machines in the world for running high throughput Oracle transactions. Credit card transactions were a big part of Tandem's business, so I'm just connecting the dots.

In the mid-90s, SGI did make a small effort to push itself as a high-end, mainstream server vendor, not just as an HPC or graphics vendor, and by 1996 or so, SGIs were fairly popular as web/commerce servers.

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby SAQ » Thu May 14, 2009 5:25 pm

I checked out the book - probably the best description out there (I had already seen the condensed sentence-length description in the other parts).

At the time, wasn't SGI pushing itself as a total web solution from the WebForce Indys for content creation through the Origin for serving? I'm a bit fuzzy about the machinations of fancy computer companies, but didn't the "hot seller" then shift to Sun, before moving to the current crop of clones?

I wonder why - probably cheaper prices.

When did Tandem get out of the SGI business? I suppose when Compaq bought them in '97 or thereabouts.
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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby josehill » Thu May 14, 2009 9:30 pm

SAQ wrote:At the time, wasn't SGI pushing itself as a total web solution from the WebForce Indys for content creation through the Origin for serving?

Exactly. My first SGI project was setting up a WebForce Indy / WebForce Challenge S (both 180 MHz R5ks) with an R10k PowerChallenge L as a backend compute server back in 1996.
SAQ wrote:I'm a bit fuzzy about the machinations of fancy computer companies, but didn't the "hot seller" then shift to Sun, before moving to the current crop of clones?

I wonder why - probably cheaper prices.

Yeah, the market had started moving strongly to Solaris by late 1998, in no small measure to the lack of strategic clarity from SGI, IMHO, but I don't want to start that thread again. :lol:

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby hamei » Thu May 14, 2009 11:08 pm

josehill wrote:Yeah, the market had started moving strongly to Solaris by late 1998, in no small measure to the lack of strategic clarity from SGI, IMHO, but I don't want to start that thread again. :lol:

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby josehill » Fri May 15, 2009 7:10 am

hamei wrote:I coulda beena contenda.
I coulda been somebody.
You was my brudda, you was supposed to watch out foah me ...

Well said!

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Re: Tandem-badged SGIs

Unread postby iKitsune » Fri May 15, 2009 8:27 am

josehill wrote:
hamei wrote:I coulda beena contenda.
I coulda been somebody.
You was my brudda, you was supposed to watch out foah me ...

Well said!

For some reason, I can imagine my Onyx2 saying that to my SunFire 880.
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