Chapter 1. Introduction 5
At a crossroad with mainframe technology, HPSSDL experimented with off-the-shelf RS/6000
machines interconnected by ESCON® Channel adapters and an ESCON Director. The
RS/6000 machines were repackaged as nodes and mounted in drawers, which were then
mounted with five drawers to a frame.
1.1.3 SP1® and early switch implementation
IBM in Yorktown, New York was working on a high-speed switch (6 MBps bandwidth and 200
ms latency) while another group on-site developed an eight-drawer frame and the associated
management software. In December 1991, these groups came together as HPSSL (the
“Development” part of the name was dropped) and were charged with shipping a product
within 12 months. Standard RS/6000 workstations were adapted, along with a new version of
the switch developed in Yorktown in place of ESCON for reduced latency. See Figure 1-3.
Figure 1-3 SP frame
The total product was introduced to the marketplace as the SP1 in September of 1993. By
year’s end, 72 systems had been installed around the world in the scientific and technical
community. As the mainframe began losing popularity, commercial customers also began
calling on IBM. IBM formed an application solutions group for the SP1, which, among other
things, ported a parallel version of Oracle’s database to the SP1.
1.1.4 PSSP and SP2®
In 1994, SP development absorbed personnel from the discontinued AIX/ESA® product.
They bolstered the manageability of the system and helped spawn the Parallel System
Support Programs (PSSP) software and the SP2 was born.
The Yorktown-developed switch gave way to the High Performance Switch (HiPS), running at
48 MBps bandwidth and 30 ms latency.
The SP2 moved out from under the umbrella of the Large Systems Division to become its
own enterprise within IBM. SP2 sales were strong: 352 systems were installed by the end of
1994 and 1,023 by the end of 1995.