How is the NT/Unix battle shaping up?
Why IT buying decisions are changing -- IDC puts server market numbers into perspective
Boston (01/29/97) -- Windows NT gained a leg up on Unix platforms in the battle to be the dominant server environment last year, according to the Framingham, MA-based market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).
Preliminary information shows worldwide Windows NT server licenses outpaced Unix for the first time, with shipments of 725,000 compared to 602,000 for Unix. And according to the IDC report, "Server Operating Environments: Year in Review, 1996," competition between Intel-based NT Server systems and Unix RISC systems is on the rise, driven by cost differences between Intel and the more expensive Unix RISC platforms.
This year, the report said, systems vendors will rely more frequently on larger NT servers that are capable of running the same packaged application and database software as more expensive Unix systems. Meantime, Unix servers will increasingly be positioned as high-performance application and database servers, the report said.
Some of the more well-established server operating systems, such as IBM's OS/2 and Novell's NetWare, dropped some market share in 1996, but still showed growth and contributed to the overall strength of the market, according to the report. Both NetWare and OS/2 have a group of loyal users. As these users require more servers, they often turn to NetWare for file/print services and to OS/2 for application, database, or file/print services.
In 1997, Internet technology will present new opportunities as software servers become a more viable option, helping ease the compatibility problems that have frustrated IT managers for years, the report said.
"Users in large enterprises tend to build applications on existing servers in which they have confidence and experience," Jean Bozman, research manager of IDC's Unix and Client/Server Operating Environments program, said in a statement. "However, the growth of Internet/intranet technology and its ability to be layered on top of all types of server software makes it particularly appealing."
Other expectations for 1997 listed in the report:
--Ed Golden, IDG News Service
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