Microsoft has been pushing Windows NT higher into the enterprise for years, but now even its most scornful Unix rivals are joining the party.
The good news is that Unix leaders c, Digital, and IBM are promising improved reliability and scalability for NT and better integration between NT and Unix. The bad news is it will be tough to test the validity of vendors' claims for months at best.
Sun last week announced "Project Cascade", which lets native NT naming, authentication, and file and print services run on Intel- and Sparc-based Solaris servers.
Sun's pitch is that companies can use these increasingly popular NT features on the more scalable and reliable Solaris operating system and on fewer, more robust servers. Users still must run NT applications such as Microsoft Exchange on NT, Sun officials said.
Cascade incorporates AT&T's Advanced Server for Unix Systems. AT&T's code can be adapted to work with Solaris whether or not Microsoft cooperates, officials said.
Sun CEO Scott McNealy tried to make Sun's nod to NT's popularity seem normal when he said: "I don't have to like Microsoft to work with their products."
Officials said Sun will offer a prerelease version within 60 days, and release it generally in the first quarter of 1999. Pricing was not given. Sun also announced a new Sun PCI card that lets Sun Ultra workstation users run Windows and DOS applications at native speeds.
Meanwhile, Microsoft and Compaq recently announced plans to boost NT's high-end attributes and its interoperability with Unix.
Not to be left out, IBM rolled out a "blueprint" for its Netfinity line of servers running NT. IBM promised clustering, enterprise-class reliability/availability, and Fibre Channel enterprise storage, beginning later this year.