The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) is planning versions of its Unixware operating system preconfigured for specific horizontal markets such as Web servers.
The aim is to make it easier for customers to buy its product, particularly in the small to medium enterprise (SME) space.
The company claims that, while SMEs currently buy an average of 1.5 servers to run their businesses, this will increase to three by 2002 because customers are introducing more single purpose systems such as Web servers. In the past, they simply used one server to run everything from a database to file and print.
Mike Foster, SCO?s director of Unix systems marketing, explained at the organisation?s SCO Forum developer conference in Santa Cruz this week: ?In the past, we threw the legos on the table and said go and build things yourselves, but that was too confusing for people. They now want to buy things that they can use for specific functions, so we?re pre-aggregating things on the server and are moving to a purpose built model with Unixware 7.?
He added that the firm was also evaluating how to make its offerings suitable not only for horizontal markets, but also for certain key vertical ones. For example, it was deciding whether to ship the Messaging Edition of Unixware as standard for the telecomms market as a starting point, and then compile a bundle of relevant third party products as an add-on.
But to cater to the horizontal market, SCO plans to offer two products for the small business segment. The Base Edition of Unixware, which is available now, is positioned as a single user workstation and development platform and is used by the retail sector for branch office automation.
The second offering, due in the first half of 1999, will be the Business Edition, codenamed Voyager. This will come bundled with a Unixware only licence of the Tarantella software for connecting clients and servers (see related story).
Voyager will have a five-user starting point and be in the same price range as the firm?s core Open Server operating system.
As a precursor to Business Edition, however, and in a further attempt to encourage the installed base to move to Unixware 7, SCO will also introduce a five-user version of its Departmental Edition on 11 September. This will be replaced by Business Edition when it ships.
At the departmental level, SCO now has its Departmental Edition, which starts at a 25-user licence for $2,295, and a Messaging Edition, which includes version 3.5 of Netscape?s Messaging Service. It also plans to release an Intranet Edition, which will include version 3.5 of Netscape?s Enterprise Server and support for LDAP directory services, in the first half of next year.
For the enterprise, users can already buy the Enterprise Edition of Unixware 7, but SCO also intends to come out with a Data Center Edition by the end of 1999, which is based on the work undertaken by OEMs that signed up to its Data Center Acceleration scheme.
The product will include support for 16-node clusters based on the company?s Unixware Nonstop Clusters software (see previous story), up to 64Gbytes of memory, and provide 99.99 per cent availability, the equivalent of less than an hour of downtime per year. It will be sold back mainly to the OEMs, who licence the Unix SVR5 source code that SCO acquired from Novell, but will also be made available to specific high end resellers in the channel, if they want it.
A second version of the Data Center Edition will follow within six months, offering 99.995 per cent availability or less than half an hour of downtime, with support for up to 1Tbyte of memory. SCO also said it was continuing to work with Compaq?s Digital Equipment unit on making Unixware binary compatible with its Bravo Unix, but would have no detailed plans until next year.
Each of the Unixware Editions is differentiated by support for varying numbers of CPUs, has different user and memory ceilings and provides different levels of functionality added to or stripped out of the core OS.
But, in between these horizontal releases, SCO also plans to come out with functional upgrades. The Castor release, due in September this year, will include a high availability Web server, Realnetworks audio and video streaming technology and the Merge Unix-to-Windows NT emulation software.
The next version is expected to appear in the second or third quarter of 2000 and will comprise sourcecode that can be compiled into a 32-bit version of the OS, codenamed Octave, or a 64-bit version that is intended to run on Intel?s Merced chip, codenamed Unison.
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