Storage specialists EMC and Sun are at loggerheads as financial institutions dither over the next move after the mainframe.
EMC claims that financial institutions are intending to make the leap straight from legacy mainframe systems to Windows NT, bypassing Unix entirely.
The performance that Intel is promising to deliver with its 64-bit Merced architecture could, for the first time, give NT the opportunity to compete with the performance of a mainframe, claimed Mike Maunder, UK marketing director at EMC.
Sun, a long-term adversary of Windows NT's march into the enterprise, confirmed that some of its customers in the financial arena were contemplating replacing legacy systems with an NT strategy.
"But we're trying to persuade them otherwise," said James Whitemore, storage marketing manager at Sun. "It's brainwashing, quite simply, based on the misguided belief that NT is stable enough to run mission critical applications."
EMC claims that its strength in comparison to Sun and IBM is its hardware independence: EMC supports 36 different hardware platforms. Sun's stance against NT will also work to its detriment, EMC's Maunder claimed.
However, Whitemore disputed the claim that Sun refused to support NT or the platforms of rival hardware vendors: "All new products are qualified for Sun, NT, Hewlett-Packard and IBM as the very minimum."
EMC and Sun agree the industry is on the brink of a new generation of storage. All the main players are racing to realise the vision of the Storage Area Network (SAN), also known as the Intelligent Area Network, which involves a solitary or distributed storage to work with a mixed platform computing environment.
EMC hopes to deliver on the SAN goal by the end of next year. It all depends on stable fibre technology, said Maunder.
Sun claims to have "99.9%" of the components, but is lacking the appropriate switching technology. However, the company said negotiations with an unnamed networking vendor should be concluded by the end of this year.
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