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Chapter 44

The structure of SYSTEM/3601

Part II-System implementations

W Y. Stevens

Summary The performance range desired of SYSTEM/360 is obtained by variations in the storage, processing, control, and channel functions of the several models. The systematic variations in speed, size, and degree of simultaneity that characterize the functional components and elements of each model are discussed.

A primary goal in the SYSTEM/360 design effort was a wide range of processing unit performances coupled with complete program compatibility. In keeping with this goal, the logical structure of the resultant system lends itself to a wide choice of components and techniques in the engineering of models for desired performance levels.

This paper discusses basic choices made in implementing six SYSTEM/360 models spanning a performance range of fifty to one. It should be emphasized that the problems of model implementation were studied throughout the design period, and many of the decisions concerning logical structure were influenced by difficulties anticipated or encountered in implementation.

Performance adjustment

The choices made in arriving at the desired performances fall into four areas:

Main storage

Central processing unit (CPU) registers and data paths

Sequence control

Input/output (I/O) channels

Each of the adjustable parameters of these areas can be subordinated, for present purposes, to one of three general factors: basic speed, size, and degree of simultaneity.

Main storage

Storage speed and size

The interaction of the general factors is most obvious in the area of main storage. Here the basic speeds vary over a relatively small range: from a 2.5-m sec cycle for the Model 40 to a 1.0-m sec cycle for Models 62 and 70. However, in combination with the other two factors, a 32:1 range in overall storage data rate is obtained, as shown in Table 1.

Most important of the three factors is size. The width of main storage, i.e., the amount of data obtained with one storage access, ranges from one byte for the Model 30, two bytes for the Model 40, and four bytes for the Model 50, to 8 bytes for Models 60, 62, and 70.

Another size factor, less direct in its effect, is the total number of bytes in main storage, which can make a large difference in system throughput by reducing the number of references to external storage media. This number ranges from a minimum of 8192 bytes on Model 30 to a maximum of 524,288 bytes on Models 60, 62, and 70. An option of up to eight million more bytes of slower-speed, large-capacity core storage can further increase the throughput in some applications.

Interleaved storage

Simultaneity in the core storage of Models 60 and 70 is obtained by overlapping the cycles of two storage units. Addresses are staggered in the two units, and a series of requests for successive words activates the two units alternately, thus doubling the maximum rate. For increased system performance, this technique is less effective than doubling the basic speed of a single unit, since the access time to a single word is not improved, and successive references frequently occur to the same unit. This is illustrated by comparing the performances of Models 60 and 62, whose only difference is the choice between two overlapped 2.0-m sec storage units and one single 1.0-m sec storage unit, respectively. The performance of Model 62 is approximately 1.5 times that of Model 60.

1IBM Sys. J, vol. 3, no. 2, 136-143, 1964.


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