[rescue] A Question about Snap Servers

Sheldon T. Hall shel at cmhcsys.com
Mon Aug 2 10:40:51 CDT 2004

Bill Bradford said ...
> On Mon, Aug 02, 2004 at 07:37:52AM -0700, Sheldon T. Hall wrote:
> > Still '486 for the most part, 12 years ago.  Pentiums were just
> > coming out.
> > I still have two DEC Pentium 60 boxes from early 1993:
> > 	P-60 (with FP error)
> > 	72 MB RAM (72-pin FPM parity)
> > 	EISA bus
> > 	Adaptec SCSI card
> > 	1 - 1 GB SCSI drive (FH 5.25")
> > 	3COM 10Base2 NIC
> > 	basic VGA
> > 	16 serial ports
> > 	massive case
> > 	SCO Unix
>         ^^^^^^^^
> > 	$15,000
> > Those two machines still run fine, BTW.
>                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> (seriously, I saw some serious uptime on SCO boxes back in the day, circa
> '94-98 or so.  Tons of places would have a Pentium or 486 in the back with
> serial terminals hanging off it..)

Those two machines were the development machines for a system I did for NBC
News.  It distributed urgent company bulletins ("Johnny Carson will be 5
minutes late tonight.  There will be a special news bulleting at 11:00")
over a satellite network to PCs at their ~250 affiliate stations.  Fairly
cool system.  They were still using it 4 years ago (I got a call) and may be
using it still.

The DEC machines were the "hub" in NYC, but the affiliates could run
anything from a '286 up.  My building the system to use "any old junk" saved
them a million dollars, since they didn't have to buy new computers for the
affiliates.  The affiliate machines ran MS-DOS, had up to 16 serial devices
(printers, TV titling units, etc.) and could route messages to pagers and
fax machines, etc.

Software on the affiliate machines could be updated from the hub, over the
satellite network.  The affiliate station personnel weren't expected to do
anything once they installed the extra serial ports and the software.

It all ran 24/7, and I never got any complaints about system failures that
weren't due to human error.  I'm sure there were some, but they seemed to
get handled without any drama.  I'm sure that if there were lots, I'd have
heard about it.

FWIW, my current company's software runs on SCO Unix, as well as HP-UX and
AIX.  I think current SCO management is a pack of weasels, but I don't get
to choose what we support.  We don't sell anything but AIX-based stuff to
new customers, except as a last resort.


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