SCO made its bid for the enterprise market on Tuesday with the official introduction ofits Unixware 7 operating system.
The new OS received endorsements from Intel and from hardware vendors including Compaq, Data General, ICL, Fujitsu, Unisys, Siemens Nixdorf, HP and IBM. Also trumpeting support were software suppliers such as Computer Associates, Oracle, Netscape and BEA.
SCO packaged its announcement in a carefully stage-managed worldwide satellite broadcast, featuring scripted interviews with SCO president and CEO Alok Mohan and executive vice president and chief technology officer Doug Michels, interlaced with videotaped testimonials from partners.
Most features of the new operating system had been revealed last year, when SCO announced the System V Release 5 (SVR5) Unix technology that underlies Unixware 7. The new OS is the joint successor to SCO?s own Open Server and to Unixware, which SCO purchased from Novell in 1995.
To back up its enterprise ready claims, Unixware 7 features a 64-bit file system and support for such high availability features as clustering and the Numa (Non-Uniform Memory Access) parallel server architecture.
It also supports Multipath I/O, allowing redundant connections to storage systems, as well as Hot Plug PCI and I2O. The operating system can be remotely managed from a Web browser, using technology borrowed from SCO?s Tarantella product.
SCO promises to release a fully 64-bit version of Unixware 7 as soon as systems based on 64-bit Intel Merced processors reach the market. The OS already has a number of 64-bit features, including the file system and some 64-bit libraries. In the second half of 1998, SCO will release a software developers' kit for the development of 64-bit Unixware applications.
Mohan predicted that Intel?s 64-bit IA-64 chips, including Merced, will soon drive Risc processors out of the market. ?All roads lead to Merced," he said.
According to preliminary 1997 data from IDC, SCO had a 40 per cent share of the total Unix server OS market last year, up from 36 per cent in 1996. However, most of SCO's sales have been in low end markets - and currently SCO sells many more copies of Open Server than of Unixware.
Michels said he expected SCO to hold on to its current 80 per cent of the market for Unix on Intel, or even to extend its lead, when Intel?s 64-bit processor comes out. But some observers think this is optimistic - SCO will face new competition from HP and Digital, which are porting their Unix versions to Merced, as well as from Sun, which already sells an Intel version of its Solaris operating system.
?SCO is the only independent supplier of Unix," said Michels. "We don?t supply hardware, so we don?t compete with our customers."
A number of hardware vendors voiced their support for the operating system. Two weeks ago, four of these vendors (Compaq, Data General, ICL and Unisys) announced that they would invest an undisclosed amount to help SCO develop enterprise features for Unixware. Additional support came from IBM and HP, which will both offer Unixware 7 on their Intel-based servers ? despite having their own versions of Unix for their Risc-based systems.
On the software front, Netscape announced the availability of Netscape Enterprise Server 3.5, Messaging Server 3.5 and Directory Server 3.0 for the new operating system. Oracle demonstrated Oracle 8 for Unixware 7 and Computer Associates announced that all copies of Unixware will ship with CA?s Unicenter TNG systems management framework. A complete version of Unicenter TNG for the new OS will be released later.
Unixware will ship in five editions, from a full featured Enterprise Edition ($4,995 for 50 users) to a Base edition for embedded systems ($795 for one user). There are also Department, Intranet and Messaging editions, each selling for $2,295. A special configuration for small and medium-sized businesses will be announced in the second half of the year. European pricing is yet to be decided.
SCO also announced an SDK that will allow developers to generate a single binary that will run on Unixware 2.1, SCO Open Server 5 and Unixware 7.
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