Milton Keynes, UK-based research company Butler Bloor Ltd’s latest tome on the computer industry looks at networking: peer-to-peer networking, server-based networking on personal computer and Unix systems and network management systems. In it, Artisoft Inc’s LANtastic gets top marks in the the peer-to-peer category, followed closely by Sun Microsystems Inc’s 10Net. Banyan Systems Inc Vines […]
Milton Keynes, UK-based research company Butler Bloor Ltd’s latest tome on the computer industry looks at networking: peer-to-peer networking, server-based networking on personal computer and Unix systems and network management systems. In it, Artisoft Inc’s LANtastic gets top marks in the the peer-to-peer category, followed closely by Sun Microsystems Inc’s 10Net. Banyan Systems Inc Vines and Vines for Santa Cruz Operation Inc Unix are rated best products in the server categories. NCR Corp’s StarGroup comes second to Vines for Santa Cruz Unix and is regarded as the premier implementation of LAN Manager by Butler Bloor. The report acknowledges Digital Equipment Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co users are still more likely to opt for Pathworks and LAN Manager/X networking systems from their respective suppliers. In network management software, it positions NCR’s StarSentry as a clear leader over HP OpenView, although it praises OpenView for its superior security features, and SunNet Manager for its excellent foundation which third parties have built on. As far as personal computer local networking is concerned, there is little to choose from between Microsoft Corp LAN Manager and Novell Inc NetWare, although NetWare has the edge in performance, the report concludes.
Microsoft to dominate the desktop
It sees the combination of AT&T software and NCR hardware being particularly successful, while in the battle between Microsoft and Novell it expects Microsoft to dominate the desktop and possibly provide Novell with competition on the server. The Butler Bloor missive identifies a number of key trends that will, in its opinion, result in a dramatic increase in networking activity across the board. Although data and voice transmission lines are moving gradually towards the 144Kbits per second Integrated Services Digital Networks specification, the report believes that ISDN has not been as successful as many pundits believed it would be. In fact it has been short of traffic. Meanwhile, it says, the emergence of Asynchronous Transfer Mode, asynchronous transfer mode local area network technology, has laid to rest any doubt about whether networks will be able to handle the kinds of traffic throughput expected in the future. Asynchronous Transfer Mode is a derivative of fast packet switching technology, offering speeds of up to the Gigabits per second range, supports voice, data, image and video, and can therefore implement ISDN. This is networking technology running at CPU bus speeds, the report suggests. It quotes Gartner Group estimates that investment in Asynchronous Transfer Mode technology will top $50,000m within the next six years. Other roads for the electronic traffic of the future include radio technology. Demand here is likely to be high, the report says, because the service will be able to satisfy the demands of portable computing. The problem is that the airwaves could become quickly saturated. Satellite communications provide a way round this, and now Iridium Inc – a company founded recently by a consortium of companies including Motorola Inc – is to place a constellation of 66 satellites around the earth, costing $3,000m, for a commercial service that is expected to span the globe by 1998. However, even with the tens of millions of personal computers and workstations in use around the world, networking and network usage still hasn’t taken off in a big way, the report says, because two things are needed: multi-tasking operating systems and the means to develop client-server applications. Soon, it argues, nearly every desktop system will be sold with a multi-tasking operating system – OS/2, Windows NT or Unix – on 32-bit hardware or better. Client-server applications are becoming a reality with performance problems being addressed by faster computers, faster local network speeds and improving software. The arrival of desktop operating systems and client-server computing has coincided with the emergence of graphical interfaces, and computers now more often handle bit-mapped, rather than character-based en
vironments. With the advent of multimedia, the – for the most part – disparate information sectors, such as television, film, telephones, books, newspapers and records, will become increasingly integrated industries. Global networks will be used by computer users first, the report concludes, while the owners of the highways – both public telephone companies and independent carriers – which charge for traffic, cannot fail to profit. The 300 page report – Networking: Options & Comparisons evaluated 20 products, and it costs UKP420.