Compaq, Intel and Microsoft Announce Completion of the Virtual Interface Architecture Specification

HOUSTON, SANTA CLARA, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 16, 1997 — Compaq Computer Corp., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Virtual Interface (VI) Architecture version 1.0 specification has been completed and is now publicly available. First announced in April, the specification will enable a new class of scalable cluster products offering high performance, low total cost of ownership and broad applicability.

More than 100 companies have contributed to the definition of this specification. Products based on the VI Architecture specification are scheduled to become available in 1998. These include high-performance system area network (SAN) interface cards, high-speed, scalable switches for these SANs, as well as database products. A SAN is a specialized network optimized for the reliability and performance requirements of clusters.

The VI Architecture specification provides an industry-standard high-speed cluster communication interface that promises substantial benefits for distributed enterprise computing. Distributed enterprise computing requires very-low-latency, high-bandwidth communications. The VI Architecture can dramatically improve the performance of distributed applications by reducing the latency associated with critical message-passing operations. This new paradigm helps enable delivery of the enterprise-class scalability and availability that businesses need for high-performance, mission-critical applications, at price/performance levels that cannot be attained by traditional communications or proprietary clustering technologies.

The VI Architecture specification is media, processor and operating system independent. The software interface will support a variety of efficient programming models to simplify development and ensure performance, while the hardware interface will be compatible with industry-standard networking protocols as well as specialized SAN products available from a variety of vendors.

Broad industry support behind the VI Architecture specification will spur rapid growth in high-performance cluster solutions. Historically, there has always been a trade-off between performance and platform independence. The VI Architecture allows full optimization to the underlying hardware capability with no trade-off in platform independence.

The VI Architecture version 1.0 specification is publicly available at ( . This site lists the companies that have contributed to the creation of the VI Architecture specification.

Compaq Computer, a Fortune 100 company, is the fifth-largest computer company in the world and the largest global supplier of personal computers, delivering useful innovation through products that connect people with people, and people with information. Customer support and information about Compaq and its products can be found at ( or by calling (800) OK-COMPAQ. Product information and reseller locations can be obtained by calling (800) 345-1518.

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of personal computer, networking and communications products. Additional information is available at ( .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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