Tandem Computers was founded in 1974 by a group of engineers from Hewlett Packard. Tandem was an early manufacturer of so-called fault tolerant computer systems, aimed specifically at organizations with high levels of transactions, mainly in the financial services sector - ATM’s, banks and stock exchanges.

Tandem’s systems used a number of redundant processors and storage devices to provide high-speed fail over support should a hardware failure occur. This architecture was called NonStop. Tandem was purchased by Compaq in 1997 in order to provide that company with more robust server offerings. Today their software is still known as NonStop, as a separate product line offered by Hewlett-Packard.

The Tandem platform has become true legacy as in that there is no such hardware that can be purchased today with that brand, although their NonStop architecture is prevalent in HP solutions.

The Tandem Legacy platforms include:

  • 1975 NonStop I – running on the Guardian Operating System
  • 1981 NonStop II
  • 1983 NonStop TXP
  • 1986 NonStop VLX and CLX
  • 1989 NonStop Cyclone
  • 1991 NonStop Cyclone/R and CLXR
  • 1993 NonStop Himalaya – also known as the S-Series

Integrating Tandem-based Applications

Tandem computer systems are still very much in use today within many financial institutions. As with many mainframe and midrange systems of the day, the Tandem systems were never designed to integrate with other computer systems. In fact, the only interface to the system was that of the end-user, through the terminal/workstation devices.

The application residing on the Tandem NonStop platform would have been written to support a specific terminal type, and the transport of information to and from the terminal and the NonStop server would utilize what is referred to today as a ‘terminal data stream’. This terminal data stream is the only ubiquitous, non-invasive application interface provided by a legacy application. MitemView utilizes this data stream as an application interface. The data stream is known as Tandem 6530.

What this means is that applications that run on Tandem platforms can now be integrated, non-invasively and in real-time, with new applications whether they are composite applications, packaged or web-based.

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