Microdata, MDIS, NIS, NPS to NEC Software Solutions…

Reality, MultiValue heritage… that’s had many decades of enhancements

The forerunner of Reality was called the General Information Management System – GIM and was designed by Don Nelson and Richard “Dick” Pick for the TRW company. It was delivered to the US Army in the mid 1960’s for logistics field support for the Cheyenne helicopter during the Vietnam War. The main design aims were that it was to be an efficient resilient database with integrated data retrieval, which could be applied to many physical computer systems. In order to achieve the latter a virtual machine concept was used that emulated typical physical computer systems. This places GIM as one of the first multi-platform, general-purpose computing environment projects – indeed, one of the first databases and one of the first virtual machines…

“Not just data, it’s Reality”… making sence of accumulated data

Microdata(Refer to Wikipedia & Microdata Alumni) developed the first commercial release of this technology, based on the Microdata 1600, and in 1973 they created the Reality Operating Environment, implementing the virtual machine in programmed microcode. This places Reality as one of the first software products derived from open technology. Microdata marketed this system by appointing dealers worldwide, with the Computer Machinery Company – CMC being appointed in the UK. By 1976 CMC had been acquired by Microdata. Reality grew from being a “few user” interactive system to one offering 10s and then 100s of interactive users. It was applied to commercial, public sector and government applications, with functionality being extended in terms of data access and networking.

Dick Pick stands next to the first prototype DM-512 for the Microdata Reality   

During the 1980s Dick Pick furthered his work, independently of Microdata, on what was to become the Pick Operating System. By 1984 both Dick Pick & Microdata agreed that both parties had equal rights to the technology. Microdata continued to develop Reality, while Dick Pick did the same – as well as enabling the technology to other third parties; e.g. Prime, Ultimate, Applied Digital Data Systems/NCR… Along with Reality, the Pick collective of distributions started to use the term MultiValue to describe its marketplace.

At this time Microdata then became the Information Systems division of the McDonnell Douglas aerospace company, being known as MDIS, and developed Reality across a range of proprietary systems before porting it to run on top of various “open” UNIX platforms. However, while the international use of Reality continued, the company focused on providing vertical market solutions for the UK marketplace. Reality was used as the basis for the development of a number of mission critical applications which were successfully implemented across a wide range of customers.

In the late 1990s the company transferred ownership becoming a UK public listed company, Northgate Information Solutions – NIS. As of July 2021, Reality is part of NEC Software Solutions

Continual development in Reality has built on its foundations as an efficient, scalable, resilient multi-dimensional database and operating environment. Reality can now be deployed on the Sun SPARC/Solaris and IBM pSeries/AIX UNIX, as well as Linux and Windows on Intel/AMD from a single-user workstation to many 1,000’s of users in 24*7 failsafe enterprises with remote disaster recovery. While maintaining its virtual machine concept, Reality now has open interfaces – using ODBC/JDBC SQL, Web Services, HTML, TCP/IP Sockets and simple extensions to DataBasic – an extended Dartmouth BASIC language with exceptional database and string handling abilities. Remote calls can also be made in order to provide integration with open Java applications and Microsoft Visual Basic/C/C++/C# and .Net. DataBasic Objects have remained current with high-level interfaces to Java, Web Services and JSON…

Heritage and growth
Reality, unlike other MV products has been developed and supported from the same company lineage. With its long heritage and development programmes many businesses and organisations, from small to huge enterprises, have looked to Reality to provide cost effective, scalable and resilient application deployment.

Migration Information (other MultiValue, get back to Reality)
For the latest information please refer to the Migration (other MultiValue to Reality) page.