Santa Cruz Operation Inc yesterday threw its hat into the lucrative but overcrowded market for Unix operating system software on Intel servers with the debut of the 64-bit enabled UnixWare 7, destined – in its mind – for use on Merced boxes. With the likes of IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Data General Corp, Compaq Computer […]
Santa Cruz Operation Inc yesterday threw its hat into the lucrative but overcrowded market for Unix operating system software on Intel servers with the debut of the 64-bit enabled UnixWare 7, destined – in its mind – for use on Merced boxes. With the likes of IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Data General Corp, Compaq Computer Corp, Unisys Corp and Fujitsu/ICL, committed to shipping UnixWare 7.x products SCO’s got some impressive OEM backing, but faces heavyweight competition from other Unix-on-Merced wannabes, including Sun, HP and DEC/Sequent. SCO, traditionally a supplier of Unix for small businesses, signaled its intent to get into the high-end when it bought Unix from Novell Inc in 1995. CEO Alok Mohan expects to build a bigger business selling UnixWare 7 on high-margin systems than at the low-end, however the market wasn’t impressed and SCO’s stock, in the doldrums for so long now, only shaded up at around $4.50.
SCO’s problem is that while it commands a 40% share of the Unix server market – and 88% of the Unix-on-Intel server market – the vast majority of this is accounted for by its older Unix SVR3.x SCO OpenServer code base which SCO isn’t going to 64-bit enable for Merced. New OpenServer 5.x.x releases this year presage the code going into maintenance mode thereafter as the company picks up as much OpenServer-to-UnixWare 7.0 converts as it can with a bunch of migration tools plus second-half 1998 UnixWare 7.0 releases specifically designed for small-to-medium sized business and replicated sites. The danger for SCO is that its low-end business will flee the oncoming UnixWare 7.0 juggernaut for other multi-user operating systems, such as Windows NT. SCO expects the majority of its 32-bit Unix SVR4-based UnixWare 2.1 users to trade up to UnixWare 7, which has a 64-bit file system, libraries and commands, 64Gb addressable physical memory, 1Tb files sizes and 75Tb addressable disk. Scaling to 32 processors and four-way clustering now, the investment SCO secured from data center partners Compaq, DG, Unisys, Intel and ICL last month (CI No 3,355) will be used to develop ‘data center’ features such as 99.99% high availability, six-way clustering and support for 16- way ccNUMA servers by year-end. The five will get a royalty stream based on sales of the data center versions of UnixWare 7.x from the end of this year. SCO’s not letting on how much it got from its five new investors last month but SCO’s posted at least a dozen new job vacancies on its web site including OEM program and data center managers. A new pricing model means SCO UnixWare 7 customers are charged for every concurrent user on a network rather than on an individual server. There are five UnixWare 7 configurations, from the $800 base to $5,000 enterprise versions, each with increasing amounts of additional functionality such as Netscape servers, file and print services and high-availability. The intranet and messaging editions ship in the third quarter.