The market for industrial strength operating systems that can run mission-critical applications on the Intel platform will become quite crowded later this year. Both Univel and SunSoft have promised to unveil Unix implementations during the fourth quarter of 1992 that aim directly at market leader The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), Santa Cruz, Calif.
Univel, the San Jose, Calif.-based joint venture of Novell, Inc., Provo, Utah, and Unix Systems Laboratories, Inc., Summit, N.J., will introduce the UnixWare operating system. SunSoft, the software arm of Sun Microsystems, Inc., Mountain View, Calif., will roll out its Solaris operating system. Both products will run on desktop systems based on 80X86 microprocessors from Intel Corp., Hillsboro, Ore.
The Santa Cruz Operation, long the only major player in this market, is doing its best to stay ahead of the game, officials told attendees at the recent SCO Forum held in Santa Cruz.
During the user group festivities, SCO unveiled its IPX/SPX product for MS-DOS personal computers connected via NetWare local-area networks (LANs) from Novell. IPX/SPX is said to provide remote, terminal-mode access to applications running on Version 4 of the SCO Unix System =/386 Release 3.2 operating system or Release 2.0 of SCO Open Desktop.
SCO officials noted that most researchers have slotted NetWare with 70% of the LAN market, and that increasing numbers of the installed base come from Fortune 1,000-level corporations. Many of those organizations are looking hard at downsizing mission-critical applications from proprietary mainframes and minicomputers to smaller Unix-based servers linked to existing NetWare LANs.
SCO officials acknowledged that the new IPX/SPX software cannot yet allow Unix workstations to access Novell servers without the help of third-party products--an issue the company sees as minor. "Univel is trying to create a new market by doing that" in its new Unix implementation, said Grover Righter, SCO director of product management. "We don't anticipate that market being huge."
Instead, SCO plans to maintain its self-proclaimed lead in the market by continuing to meet what it sees as the real demand for interoperability. The company promises to offer connectivity to IBM's System Network Architecture (SNA); DECnet from Digital Equipment Corp., Maynard, Mass.; AppleTalk from Apple Computer, Inc., Cupertino, Calif.; Novell; and other widely used networking systems.
SCO also contends that it will continue to support a wide array of third-party hardware and software, which will allow MIS organizations and value-added resellers the flexibility to create low-cost, integrated systems.