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New York -- Maybe it was the free cappuccino and
latte, but the Sun Microsystems Inc. booth at Unix Expo Plus was packed
with attendees after a rousing Java-centric speech by Ed Zander,
president of Sun Microsystems Computer Corp.
In the first of several keynotes at the conference, Zander outlined
the future of the network computer as it relates to Java and called
upon conference attendees not to heed the warnings that Windows NT will
usurp Unix in the network market.
"Unix is alive and well," Zander told the crowd, citing the staying
power of the operating system in an industry that changes flavors every
year. "We think there is a heck of a lot of headway and runway left in
the Unix marketplace."
Zander took more than a few pokes at Microsoft Corp. CEO Bill Gates,
who tried to boost confidence in NT and Unix coexistence during his
keynote the following day. Zander said Microsoft continues to load the
desktop with unnecessary software, driving up the cost of business
computing. Citing a Gartner Group Inc. report, he said the average cost
of operating a PC in the business space is $13,000 per year, a cost
that Sun's network computing model can reduce by 70 percent through
"Webtop" thin clients sucking applications off a server.
"The best thing to happen to Sun in the industry was Windows 95,"
Zander said. "It made people stop and ask, `Do I really need that?'"
Some show attendees answered yes. Rick Strom, director of system
software marketing for Data General Corp. in Westborough, MA, said
while there is a place for the thin client model in some businesses
such as banks, Webtops will not displace Microsoft software on the PC.
"You start taking things away from people on `the desktop,' and they
are not going to be very happy," Strom said. "I don't think [the Webtop
is] going to be widely adopted, but there is a place for it."
Zander outlined three driving forces behind Sun's network-centric
- Expansion of the Internet. Electronic commerce and the
proliferation of intranets in the workplace will force applications
onto servers and away from the desktop.
- Bandwidth ubiquity. Adoption of fiber and ISDN is more
commonplace, and bandwidth requirements will increase as high-speed
access is demanded by the PC user.
- The Java net application paradigm. Sun will continue to embed
its language in everything from cellular phones to pagers. Zander also
claimed that the Java paradigm solves problems of security, application
distribution, cost per seat, and client administration.
In a final appeal to his Unix audience, Zander challenged developers
to continue writing for Unix, taking advantage of its scalability,
security, and manageability over NT.
New product roundup
In case you missed the noteworthy product introductions at Unix Expo, we
give you the gist:
--John Robinson, Network World and Rebecca Sykes, IDG News Service, Boston Bureau
- Sybase Inc.announced its enterprise data
warehouse server for Sun Microsystems Computer Corp.'s new Ultra
Enterprise Clusters. Sybase's MPP 11.0 for Sun Ultra Enterprise Cluster
supports symmetric multi-processing (SMP), clusters of SMPs, and
massively parallel processing (MPP) systems. The server is designed for
large enterprise data warehouses, and provides linear scalability
across hundreds of processors and terabytes of data. Sybase MPP 11.0
is available now and pricing, which is dependent on configuration,
starts at $120,000.
- Falcon Systems Inc.'s FastfilePro-HA is a
server designed to offer affordable capabilities such as high
availability and World Wide Web access. The server delivers high
availability by using a passive processing unit that monitors the
status of the active processing unit in a "heartbeat" fashion, and
shuttling opertations over to the passive unit if it detects CPU
failure. FastfilePro-HA delivers Web access with a new HTTP module,
providing read-only access to Web files. Pricing ranges but begins at
$84,968 for a system with 38 gigabytes of storage capacity, monitor,
keyboard, redundant power, Ethernet and FDDI interfaces and software.
- On the software front,Devcom Mid-America Inc.
debuted Fax.FX 2.5, fax management software for both Unix and Windows
NT-based servers. The fax software operates from clients running on
Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, Mac and Unix clients, as well as
from character-based terminals.
- UniPress Software Inc.'s Web-based help desk
system designed to record and track problems, solutions, bugs, and
change requests for groups of users is now available. Called
FootPrints, the software is platform-independent and permits
user-defined fields. Starter licenses include server software and
three user licenses and costs $1995; additional licenses are $495
- New Dimensions Software introduced its latest
version of Control-M Option for R/3, software which lets Control-M
enterprise production control and scheduling software manage the
scheduling and monitoring of R/3, SAP AG's client/server application
suite. The new version of Control-M lets users automate the scheduling
and management of both ABAP/4 reports and SAP jobs. The new version is
available immediately, and pricing starts at $32,000.
- Black&White Software Inc. announced the
addition of Java capabilities to its CORBA productivity toolsets,
UIM/Orbix and DB/Enable. The new Java components will let developers
use drag-and-drop techniques to develop clients which interact with
Internet servers. In addition, existing projects based on C and C++ and
built in UIM/Orbix and DB/Enable can be converted to Java.
- In the storage arena, Box Hill Systems Corp.
introduced a Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) storage system
designed to produce data transfer rates ten times faster than SCSI. The
hot-swappable, dual FC-AL storage system offers capacities of up to 72
gigabytes per enclosure, using eight 9-gigabyte fibre channel drives,
company officials said. Additional storage of up to 1,125 gigabytes is
provided by daisy-chaining enclosures for a total of up to 125 drives
per each dual FC-AL system.
- Smart Storage Inc.'s SmartCD, the
company's integrated recording and access software, will be available
in December for Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX version 10.01 workstations.
SmartCD software manages all CD data as a standard NFS mount point, and
also offers an API toolkit. SmartCD is priced at $795 for HP-UX, IBM's
AIX, and Sun's Solaris.
- SCO announced the availability of free SCO
UnixWare operating system licenses in January as well as source code
licenses for SCO Unixware for universities and other educational
institutions. Two months ago, SCO announced free SCO OpenServer
licenses, for which the Santa Cruz, CA-based company has already
processed 8,000 requests, officials said.
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