IBM reported to be in talks to buy Sequent

IBM and Sequent Computer Systems have declined to comment on a published report that says IBM is negotiating to buy the vendor of high-end data-centre products.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, discussions between the two companies are in an "advanced stage," with a deal possibly being announced this week.

The two companies are already partners in Project Monterey, announced last October. The alliance, which includes Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), was formed to produce new Unix operating systems based on SCO's UnixWare and Sequent's DYNIX/ptx operating system for the low end, and on IBM's AIX operating system for the high end. The operating system will run on Intel Corp.'s IA-32 and IA-64 Merced architecture.

Also together with IBM, Sequent is part of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) effort to develop interoperable device standards for the storage area network (SAN) industry.

Sequent was founded in 1983 and in 1997 launched its Numa-Q line of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) data centre servers that support up to 252 processors. Last year, the company introduced NumaCenter, a mixed Unix and Windows NT server. Sequent's more than 2,500 employees own approximately 10 per cent of the company's publicly-traded shares.

In January, Sequent Chief Executive Officer Casey Powell discussed the company's new move into low-end servers that run both Unix and Windows NT, saying that Sequent is "driving into the data centre with Intel, Unix and NT. We are going to press into the mainframe space. It is our belief that NT in the data centre is an inevitability."

In March, Sequent launched its online store, SequentDirect.

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