Fireworks were surprisingly not on display at last week's Windows NT show in London when Sun and Microsoft each revealed plans for tighter Solaris and NT integration.
The arch-rivals did not clash at the show - despite Sun gatecrashing its first ever NT-only event - but instead separately acknowledged each other's operating systems, grudgingly agreeing that integration was the way forward. Frances Reay, Windows product marketing manager, acknowledged it was "notable and different" to hear Microsoft talking of Unix and NT integration, and was unlikely to have happened even one year ago. But behind closed doors Microsoft has been working towards a grudging acceptance that Unix won't simply disappear.
Sun is the only Unix vendor not to become a Microsoft OEM, but it spoke openly about integration between NT and Solaris. Sun's storage division will announce this week network-attached storage products for the NT environment and the vendor has assisted IBM to port its Software Suites, designed to assist with NT/Unix integration to its heavyweight Unix OS, Solaris.
At the show, Sun was showing off its prototype, pseudo-Windows Unix operating system "Cascade", developed with the assistance of AT&T (PC Week, 15 September).
"Eighteen months ago we were essentially being defensive," admitted Simon Tindall, workstation marketing manager at Sun. "Our customers didn't want that. We have to accept that we compete in a heterogeneous environment and therefore we can't just talk about Sun servers; there are PCs out there as well."
Early next year Sun will introduce the Sun PCi card. Starting at #500, the card will allow users of Sun's "Darwin" line of workstations to run Windows within the Solaris environment.
Microsoft will sell packaged Unix Services for NT before the end of the year, which will help interaction between NT and Unix. The product has come under fire for being too expensive but Microsoft has refused to cut the price. Microsoft has jointly announced with Compaq a plan to increase integration with Unix and does not rule out further moves towards closer compatibility with other Unix vendors.
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