Compaq is working with SCO to thrash out its plan of action for Unix on Merced, in discussions that could be critical to the future of the Unix vendor.
Having mapped out plans for the integration of the server divisions of Digital, Compaq and Tandem, the question still remains whether Digital-Unix or SCO UnixWare will become Compaq's platform of choice when Intel's IA-64 Merced chip finally shows up in 2000.
Until then Compaq will continue to support and sell SCO as its 32-bit Intel platform and Digital Unix as its 64-bit Alpha platform into the high-end market.
As the largest vendor of SCO UnixWare, accounting for 43% of SCO's business, Compaq's backing for 64-bit UnixWare is essential to SCO. Two of the company's other key partners, ICL and Unisys, have already publicly bet their futures on NT.
"It's inevitable that SCO will move forward on Intel and there's no question that Compaq wouldn't be supportive of that. It's also a stated intention that Compaq would like to put Digital-Unix on Intel. How will that work?
That's what's being discussed," explained Hugh Jenkins, enterprise product manager at Compaq.
SCO claims it has UnixWare 7 up and running on Merced. However, research firm Gartner claims that the survival of its Unix variant depended on funds for marketing, support of partners and the sales process.
"We think that SCO may struggle with IA-64 migration in terms of cash-flow and will come to some sort of agreement with Compaq in due course," said Edmund Thompson, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Digital claims that it has $150 million (#92 million) to invest in porting its Unix to Merced compared to SCO's estimated $15 million (#9.2 million).
A source close to SCO said the talks were concerned with the convergence of the two products, possibly resulting in the cross-fertilisation of Digital features to the SCO system.
IBM has also been refusing to make a decision on whether to port AIX to Merced. The company said it is technically possible and a decision will be made before the end of the year. "We'll still have time to make the port if we make that call," said an IBM spokesman.
- More enterprise news, p22
Compaq/Digital server integration
- Digital Intel servers will be phased out over the next year
- Digital Alpha servers become Compaq Proliant Alpha.
- New NT Alpha servers planned: 3000 series (mid 1999), 5000 (Oct/Nov 1998), 7000 (Jan/Feb 1999)
- New 64-bit Digital Unix AlphaServers planned: 800 (mid 1999), 1200 (Oct/Nov 1998), 4000/4100 (Jan/Feb 1999), 8200/8400 (Oct/Nov 1998).
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