UnixWare 7.0, the next release of SCO's Unix operating system, will be officially launched next week in New York.
The new operating system lays the foundation for SCO's "Gemini" project, a 64-bit version of UnixWare which is being developed with Intel for the latter's 64-bit Merced processor.
According to SCO, applications using the UnixWare 7 API will be able to run unchanged on the 64-bit Merced processor when it becomes available.
Comparing the new operating system to the forthcoming Windows NT, Peter Walker, European marketing manager at SCO, claimed UnixWare 7 supports clusters of up to seven nodes and will scale beyond 32. NT currently supports only two nodes. SCO's new operating system also supports 64Gb of addressable memory and file sizes of one terabyte.
By the time the Merced version ships, SCO hopes to increase the uptime of UnixWare to 99.99%, which equates to a 3000 hour meantime between application restarts.
SCO is also targeting data centres with the new operating system, in a move to attract businesses away from proprietary mainframes and Risc Unix systems.
Last week, Compaq, Data General, ICL and Unisys announced they would provide SCO UnixWare as the standard Unix operating system for their Intel-based enterprise systems. The four companies have also agreed to help fund SCO's research and development programme for enhancing the data centre support in UnixWare on both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.
"UnixWare in the data centre is a way for OEMs to consolidate and coordinate their operating system efforts," commented John Milner, vice president and general manager at Intel's enterprise server group. "Intel and SCO are working closely together to achieve this."
Analysts feels that with the Merced 64-bit processor, Intel-based systems will be able to offer the kind of memory bandwidth that is currently only available on high-end Sun systems or IBM mainframes. This should help establish the processor in enterprise computing.
Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum, sees agreements with OEMs as key to SCO's success. Lachal noted that Compaq's good relationship with SCO will give the company a major lead into Digital, adding that it would make sense for Compaq to drop Digital Unix in favour of UnixWare.
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