The Santa Cruz Operation Inc has fired the next salvo in the emerging battle between Sunsoft Inc’s WebNFS and Microsoft Corp’s Common Internet File System, coming down firmly on the side of Microsoft. On Monday, the company officially began shipping VisionFS, an implementation of Microsoft’s Server Message Block protocol that provides file and print sharing […]
The Santa Cruz Operation Inc has fired the next salvo in the emerging battle between Sunsoft Inc’s WebNFS and Microsoft Corp’s Common Internet File System, coming down firmly on the side of Microsoft. On Monday, the company officially began shipping VisionFS, an implementation of Microsoft’s Server Message Block protocol that provides file and print sharing capabilities from Unix servers to personal computers. It’s a strategy that Santa Cruz believes will lead up to full Web support using Common Internet File System when – and not if, in Santa Cruz’s opinion – it becomes a standard. Network File System, which has the virtue of simplicity, may be good for Unix-to-Unix communications, but a richer alternative is needed for Unix boxes serving personal computer clients, says Ray Anderson, senior vice-president of Santa Cruz’s client integration product division. People are beginning to realize that there is a far more elegant solution [than PC NFS]. The key advantage is that, by using the existing networking components in Windows for Workgroups, Windows95 and Windows NT Workstation, there’s no need to load anything else onto the client. Personal Computer Network File System currently has to be installed and maintained on each c lient system, so a typical installation or upgrade of PC NFS on a five-server, 100 personal computer client system could take up to a week (20 minutes average installation time per personal computer equals 33 hours), compared with a claimed install time of two and a half hours for the five-server implementation of VisionFS. Server Message Block is more supportive of the file locking mechanisms and semantics that Windows applications expect: in VisionFS Server Message Block locking is emulated using a dedicated file-locking daemon. Server Message Block is also a stateful, connection-based protocol, rather than stateless and does asynchronous, rather than synchronous write operations, giving it a performance advantage over Network File System. And it includes built-in support for printing, which has to be done separately under Network File System. Internal Santa Cruz estimates suggest that the market for PC NFS clients is set to fall to around $50m next year from $150m this year, mainly due to the increased use of Windows NT Servers. Santa Cruz hopes to claw a significant part of that market back for Unix hosts with VisionFS. The product also includes a Profile Editor program that runs on a Windows machine for system administration configuration. It doesn’t include the usual File Transfer Protocol, electronic mail, gopher and newsreader clients that often come with PC-NFS products, as Santa Cruz says its corporate customers regard these as bloatware. Operating systems s upported include Sparc Solaris, HP-UX, Santa Cruz UnixWare and OpenServer, with SunOS, IBM Corp AIX, Digital Equipment Corp Alpha and other Unix systems expected by the end of the year. Evaluation copies are free at http://www.vision.sco.com/.with prices set at less than $100 per user, and lower for more users.