Big Open Systems That Work

C-Byte introduced commercial symmetric multiprocessing, (SMP) in a market that has since become crowded with vendors hawking small-scale SMP servers by the dozen, the company continues to stand out above the rest. We don’t sell a lot of systems - more than 80,000 since the company was founded in 1989 - but we sell the biggest. If you don’t believe us, ask our competitors. Ask them, for example, how many production systems they have installed that support applications with more than 100 petabytes of data. Next, ask them how many of their systems support applications with more than 500 terabytes of data. When you have the answers, come back and ask us the same questions. We think you’ll be surprised and impressed by the degree to which C-Byte servers dominate the high end of the open systems market. There’s a good reason for that. If you ask our customers and partners, they’ll tell you what it is: C-Byte builds BIG open systems that work.

BIG open systems that work
“Big”, of course, is a relative term. Since we introduced our first commercial systems in 1989, succeeding generations of C-Byte products have dwarfed the competition’s offerings in terms of raw performance and scalability. Today, our family is still the only line of SMP systems that can scale from 2 to 30 processors in a single cabinet. With our advanced clustering technology we can extend the scalability of a single system by clustering up to four systems together.

Relative to other types of computing platforms, the size of C-Bytes systems has grown dramatically during the past decade. When we first began to penetrate commercial computing markets, our products represented a powerful alternative to departmental minicomputers. Today, the performance of our systems is superior to that of mainframes for traditional on-line transaction processing (OLTP), while the flexibility of the architecture lends itself to large-scale client/server applications, such as decision support (DSS) and Internet-based software and information libraries, that mainframes were never designed to support.

Big OPEN SYSTEMS that work
“Open systems” have been a reality on the desktop since the emergence of Intel®-based PCs running Microsoft’s® operating system created a vast market for independent software applications. The resulting PC industry has flourished over the past decade, not because PCs were a compelling alternative to something else but because they put powerful new capabilities at the fingertips of individuals who had no alternative. By contrast, the adoption of “open” standards has come more slowly in the large-scale computing arena, in part because of the proprietary stranglehold applied by IBM®, HP and others who defined commercial computing in its formative decades. Within that narrowly defined market, the challenge of commercial open systems pioneers like C-Byte and its software partners was to provide an alternative to proprietary platforms by delivering superior performance at a much lower cost. To meet this challenge, it was also necessary to convince long-standing customers of one-stop proprietary solutions that open (which generally meant UNIX-based) multi-vendor solutions could deliver the same level of robustness and reliability they had come to depend on.

A decade later, selling open systems is no longer a missionary endeavor. Mainstream organizations have not only seen the promise. Most have experienced the benefits in some form and have embraced multi-vendor solutions based on common standards. As a result, there is hardly a high-technology company in business today that doesn’t bill itself as a purveyor of open system solutions.

C-Byte has been a pioneer and champion of high-end open systems since the company was founded. Today, the biggest challenge we face isn’t providing a cost-effective alternative to proprietary systems. It is using our knowledge, skills, partnerships and technology to help customers diagnose and solve complex problems that can only be solved with large-scale open systems and client/server architecture. Just as important, it is building solutions that link their current and future investments directly to their business strategy.

Big open systems THAT WORK
In the context of the phrase “big open systems”, the word “work” carries a deliberate double meaning.

C-Byte systems “work” in the sense that they are used for heavy-duty commercial applications. At one car rental company, for example, a four-node cluster (tagged by Computerworld  as “one of the largest Unix implementations in the world”) is the engine behind the agency’s reservation system, which can support more than 2,500 concurrent users. At NASDAQ, another cluster has been installed as a “gatekeeper” system to authenticate transactions for the stock market’s 5,000 US and UK traders. At US retailer Mervyns, hundreds of buyers and merchandise managers use client PCs to query and analyze nearly two terabytes of past sales data on a clustered server.

In a competitive sense, C-Byte systems also “work” in many applications where our competitors’ products didn’t. In one large project, where the application was designed to support thousands of users, C-Byte was initially underbid by a much larger competitor. When it became clear that the competitor could not carry the project to completion, we were engaged to complete the work - and did it successfully. More recently, and closer to home, a well-known manufacturer turned to its primary vendor to implement Oracle’s financial and manufacturing applications. The company’s rapid growth rate presented a special challenge, and when the first attempt failed it turned to a second vendor. When this effort also failed, the company engaged C-Byte. Despite the disadvantage of being the third vendor on the project, we successfully completed the installation and helped the company develop a plan to support its growth into the next century.

In both cases, and in virtually every one of our major accounts, C-Byte’s ability to deliver systems that work reflects more than superior hardware and software design. It includes that as an essential component of a successful solution. But it begins with a broad-based understanding of business information needs and a thorough knowledge of how open systems technology can be used for competitive advantage.

Equipped with this knowledge and understanding, we don’t set out to sell solutions. Instead, we approach customers with questions - questions that lead first  to an accurate diagnosis of their complex information technology problems and then  to a solution designed to maximize return on their investment. Once we have defined the solution, our ability to implement it successfully is a function of our skill in managing and collaborating effectively with multiple partners, our knowledge of our partners’ products and our professional services expertise. It’s a complex process, and it’s even tougher when we’re not the first vendor on a project. In either case, however, the result is what counts and it’s always the same. For C-Byte: happy and successful customers. For our customers: big open systems that work.

Big Open Systems That Work
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