US analyst firm The Standish Group has hit out at Microsoft for its public criticism of a report that claimed NT is less reliable and scalable than Sun?s Solaris version of Unix.
Sun used the findings of the Standish report - ?Sun also rises: Solaris vs NT? - in a national advertising campaign promoting Solaris over NT. Microsoft retaliated by issuing a statement that described the report?s findings as ?ridiculous? and claimed that ?Sun and Standish have no idea how the industry as a whole views Windows NT Server.?
On Thursday, Standish issued its rebuttal, arguing that: ?This personal attack on our research is utterly incomprehensible. We are astonished that rather than use the results of our independent analysis to better their product offering, Microsoft would choose to attack The Standish Group.?
Standish argued that "Microsoft?s personal attack on our research is utterly incomprehensible" because the survey was based on feature/function comparisons of over 250 discrete items, plus interviews with 30 NT and Solaris customers. "When Microsoft attacks this evaluation, it is attacking its own users." It added that Microsoft had been involved with the evaluation and did little to help its own cause.
The report warned that NT fell short off Solaris in a number of key areas. For example, in the field of Intranet and Internet services, ?NT could not touch Solaris?, while in the areas of scalabilty or availability NT came in for considerable criticism.
It cited a specific instance in which all users complained that NT systems crashed for no apparent reason and needed to be rebooted. Microsoft countered that a newly added feature meant that reboots would now be 50 per cent faster. Standish took this to substantiate its findings,. "If the system never failed, why would Microsoft need to speed the re-boot time?" it asked.
Standish said it was surprised at the overreaction from Microsoft, arguing that the report merely noted what was already widely known. ?NT is just not ready for mission-critical applications. Is this a surprise? It shouldn't be.? It added that this finding was scarcely shocking either since NT was a far newer technology than Unix.
Specifically, the report highlighted the recent discovery of new security bugs in NT. ?Despite Microsoft's security efforts, the users we spoke with were uncomfortable using NT for any type of application requiring strong security, such as electronic commerce applications,? noted the analyst group.
It also criticised NT?s scalability. ?There appear to be a few bottlenecks on NT which prevent it from scaling linearly in performance when the number of processors exceeds eight.? And on availability, the report claimed: ?The OS still machine checks and results in a ?blue screen of death?. No Solaris users we spoke to experienced this type of failure.?
But there were good points about NT, particularly ease of development - for which Standish awards the operating system a perfect score - and cost . ?When compared with other offerings, NT is very competitively priced. In addition, most software available to run on both NT and Solaris is invariably always cheaper on NT.?
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