While almost every computer systems manufacturer is trying to figure out how to make a buck on the desktop and/or in mobile computing, Sequent Computer Systems, a devoted Intel partisan, has forsaken those wars in favor of a strategy that concentrates on the enterprise data center. And while the company has nowhere near the resources of an IBM, HP or even a Sun Microsystems, it managed a rather astonishing 40 percent growth in revenues--1997 over 1996. Take that, big guys. One of the main reasons for this state of affairs is that Sequent is focused on the data warehousing/DSS market. For fiscal 1997 (ended 1/3/98), 18 percent of Sequent's revenues of $834 million were attributed to DSS, and the company tells me it expects that to grow to at least 25 percent for fiscal year 2000. That percentage is at least twice as high as that of any other systems company. Translation: Sequent is betting most of the farm on DSS.

It is appropriate that Sequent is located in Beaverton, Oregon, because it will take a lot of beavers to keep the company at the forefront of the DSS market. (Oooh, I couldn't resist!) The company intends to meet the challenge by attacking the DSS market from three perspectives: First, by providing a data center infrastructure, which means addressing issues like reliability and availability, performance, system management, etc.; second, by supporting multiple operating systems simultaneously on top of its NUMA hardware architecture; and, third, by dedicating development efforts on methodologies required for integrated DSS solutions.

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