Open systems offer solution

GLOBAL vendors Hewlett Packard and Digital Equipment Corporation believe the concept of client-server computing provides tremendous results for their companies.

Casey Poon, a managing consultant for Hewlett Packard Hong Kong says: 'HP comes up with a strong support for its customers with the open systems concept of the client-server, where the customer has to have the choice of fitting into different environments.' 'The client-server means the ready availability of data and more manageability of data. One of the important aspects of the open client-server is to be able to operate in a heterogeneous multi-vendor environment,' Guruswami Jambunathan, a consultant with Digital Equipment Corporation, said.

The other important aspect, he said, was scaleability.

'Now Digital is more organised with products like servers, workstations, software and services to provide a better solution,' Albert Li, a director of software business of Digital Equipment Corporation, said.

'HP believes in the concept of multi-client support and ensuring that the customer choice be fulfilled is of first importance,' Anthnoy Lai, marketing manager of Hewlett Packard Hong Kong, said.

'A lot of people get into client-server computing to save cost,' Mr Lai said.

'Digital looks at client-server in the personal computer (PC) local area network (LAN) environment where you have a server running a standard office type applications,' Digital's Mr Li said.

Even though client-server-computing has many plus sides and advantages over the old mainframes, it still has many downsides which pose a problem to some customers.

One of the disadvantages of the client-server is that it is about 70 per cent more expensive than a mainframe system.

Mr Li said the expense was in the area of the end user, as there had been a increase in the number of users in large organisations, but the results from the aspects of data storage and management were impressive.

One of the biggest problems with client-server was the software overhead.

There was a lot of power needed to run client-server, but with 64-bit RISC architecture technology Digital was able to overcome that power problem, said Mr Jambunathan.

'Digital is very proud to say that it is the only company with 64-bit technology,' Mr Li said.

To help in the client-server concept HP and Digital have a wide range of products that give their customers better output and good service.

These products cover the server and workstation environments.

The new AlphaServer 8400 enterprise server and AlphaServer 8200 departmental server are the first to use the BIPS chip.

Digital has the 'next-generation' AlphaServer products which include the AlphaServer 1000 4/200, 2000 4/200, 2100 4/200, 2100 4/275 and DEC 7000 Models 700, in the Open VMS operating system environment.

The HP Windows Client models 425SX and 433SX provide a high performing client solution that is the perfect alternative for text terminals.

It combines a powerful 486-based network-ready computer with the operating system, graphic user interface, terminal emulation and networking software needed for a wide range of applications.

These clients come with the basic configuration of a 25MHz or 33MHz 486SX and 4MB RAM and VGA video interface with 512KB video RAM on the (425SX) and 1MB video RAM on the (433SX).

The client-server systems form an increasingly important revenue stream for these multinational vendors.