SCO's UnixWare 7 arrives

Company offers new release in five different editions

By Stephanie Steenbergen

March  1998
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San Francisco (March 10, 1998) -- SCO today announced UnixWare 7, the latest version of its operating system designed as an upgrade path to Intel's much-anticipated Merced processors. SCO will offer the operating system in five different editions ranging in power and ability.

The Enterprise edition is for high-end enterprise servers that run large-scale business applications like online transaction processing. The Departmental Edition is for departmental servers in mid-sized organizations that need to share information with clients including PCs, NCs, terminals and Java-enabled browser clients. The Intranet Edition is what SCO calls an "industrial strength" intranet/Internet server for Web publishing and e-commerce and extranet and Internet applications. The Messaging Edition is for Internet mail and messaging servers with remote messaging capabilities. The Base Edition is what SCO dubs "A solid foundation for building dedicated or specialized server environments."

UnixWare 7 combines elements of both SCO's OpenServer Release 5 and UnixWare 2 operating systems. UnixWare 7's SVR5 kernel offers large-scale memory support up to 64 gigabytes and features large-scale data storage with built-in disk spanning. It can store up to one terabyte of files or filesystems and total storage of up to 76,800 terabytes. "This is enough disc space for every man, woman, and child to have a Web page on a single computer," said Doug Michels, SCO's chief technology officer.

SCO enjoys around 80 percent of the market for Intel-based Unix servers in terms of units shipped, and derives the bulk of its revenue from sales of its OpenServer operating system for smaller businesses, said analysts and SCO officials.

Like many other companies, SCO is poised to pounce on Intel's 64-bit Merced architecture the moment it becomes available. John Miner, vice president and general manager of SCO, said, "UnixWare 7 is a solid first step for Unix on Merced." Intel executives at SCO's announcement said they would help SCO to deliver a 64-bit version of UnixWare 7 that would coincide with Merced's release. SCO officials said UnixWare 7's memory model, compilers, and commands have been structured to accommodate Merced when it arrives.

Later this year SCO will release a configuration of UnixWare 7 for small to medium-sized businesses, designed to wean users away from its popular OpenServer Release 5 and over to UnixWare 7, Alok Mohan, SCO's president and chief executive officer said.

However, SCO will continue to support users of its prime revenue source by releasing new versions of OpenServer this year and next. UnixWare and Merced will provide the operating system with the most advanced features and computing power, but OpenServer customers can upgrade to the 64-bit operating system whenever the time suits them, Mohan said.

Intel-based machines account for about 45 percent of the Unix market. But SCO expects that figure to double over the next five years as software developers and OEMs move away from the RISC processor architecture to Merced, said SCO's Michels.

"So it's important to us that we hang on to our 80 percent share of the [Intel-based] Unix market," Michels said.

Among SCO's partners and OEMs who have signed up to use UnixWare 7 are: Baan, BEA, Computer Associates, Compaq, Data General, Dialogic, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hyundai, IBM, ICL, Netscape, Oracle, Tandem, and Unisys.

Asked how he felt about the fact that most of SCO's new partners and OEMs are also "doing NT," Mohan replied, "Our partners have to provide customers with a choice."

"How will SCO combat the so-called urban legends about Windows and its dominance?" asked Dan Kusnetzky of IDC at SCO's UnixWare 7 media event. Mohan stressed, "we are working hard with OEMs and partners to create joint marketing efforts."

And what about SCO's major Unix-only competitor? Dataquest analyst Chris Le Tocq said, "Sun announced its partnership with Intel a while ago. What you see here today is an organization [SCO] who's life blood is Unix on Intel. What the market place wants to see is a commitment to Unix on Intel, and rightly or wrongly, I don't see that commitment from Sun."

U.S. list prices for UnixWare 7 configurations are: $4,995 for the Enterprise Edition; $2,295 for the Department Edition; $2,295 for the Intranet Edition; $2,295 for the Messaging Edition; and, $795 for the Base Edition. Intranet and Messaging Editions ship in the third quarter of this year. All other editions are currently available.

--James Niccolai with the IDG News Service contributed to this story


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