Sun Microsystems will attempt to check the rise of Windows NT as a server operating system by bundling tools allowing its version of Unix to manage NT clients.
Sun chief executive Scott McNealy is expected this week to announce that Sun's Solaris flavour of Unix will include NT-to-Unix connectivity software, until now only available from third-party suppliers.
The move is an admission that the growth of NT as a client operating system is fuelling the growth of NT on servers.
"Let's face it, there are hundreds of thousands of NT clients out there, and a lot less Solaris clients," said a Sun UK executive. "This is to stop IT managers who already have NT clients putting NT on the server because they think it is an obvious move and it works. We have to recognise where customers' skills and investments are."
David Berman, director of research at analyst the Butler Group, described Sun's move as an acknowledgement of NT's growing power.
"They may play it down because it puts them and the other Unix vendors on the back foot," he said. "NT is aspiring for the Unix space. The question is, do the Unix vendors meet it head-on, or do they try to live with it?"
Last year McNealy signalled Sun's plans when he said the two systems would converge, and that Sun would make it easier to integrate Solaris and NT.
Tim Stammers is deputy news editor of Computing
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