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Server OSes are big business

Server OSes are big business

The server operating environment marketplace remains one of the hottest marketplaces, according to an upcoming report from International Data Corporation (IDC). The report says NetWare, OS/2, Unix and Windows NT continue to battle for dominance, with the primary battlefield being the workgroup server in medium to large companies.

According to IDC, lesser battles are occurring in distributed service providers and small business services, and the ability of the different vendors to offer competitive solutions will determine the relative market share in this marketplace. The research company said several major battles are being waged concurrently in the server marketplace. The largest of these is for the workgroup server, representing 50 per cent or more of the new server sales.

It suggests the battle for the workgroup server will present a departmental solution in a large or medium sized company. In particular, existing departmental computing solutions commonly use a Novell NetWare network which has successfully grown from a file and print sharing system to a powerful system running not just mail, but complex packaged applications. Today, LAN server and minicomputer functions are being merged into a single networked application server that leverages the desktop PC, the workgroup server and the network, to solve distributed computing needs.

IDC believes there are three forces at work: the end-user who tends to have an affinity for Microsoft Office, and therefore other Microsoft products; the MIS department which wants a stable and manageable operating environment such as Unix; and the CNEs who would probably push for a greater Novell presence. Pushed by MIS, Unix and IBM's OS/2 will likely extend the control of the enterprise network through the workgroup server. Microsoft's NT will likely push up from the users' desktops to extend control to the workgroup server. Novell will try to defend its 65 per cent-plus market share in LAN servers to retain control of the current default workgroup server and to extend the use of NetWare Directory Services at the enterprise level.

The report concludes that no one server environment meets all needs, so all remain viable major players. This clearly indicates a heterogeneous environment not only for the industry, but also within customer sites. The key success factor for these environments will focus on interoperability and meeting the many needs of the different constituencies within these environments.

IDC predictions

This year Windows NT Server will surpass the unit sales of all Unix servers combinedWindows NT Server sales will surpass Novell NetWare sales around 1999Novell will continue to see strong migration to NetWare 4.xNo one server environment will dominate the marketplace - heterogeneity will be the rule for years to come


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