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Microsoft, Compaq Enhance NT-Unix Interoperability

One day after Sun Microsystems Computer Co. announced Cascade, the NT-Unix interoperability project, Microsoft Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. jointly scrambled to announce a similar initiative. In a teleconference, the two companies outlined an agreement to make Windows NT and Compaq’s Digital Unix and Digital OpenVMS play together more cooperatively.

"Obviously, this has been in the works for much longer than since yesterday," says Paul Maritz, group vice president of platforms and applications, Microsoft.

Indeed, the companies have big plans to tie the two operating systems together. Under the terms of the agreement, Compaq and Microsoft will incorporate Unix technologies into Windows NT. Unix attributes to be more closely tied to Windows NT include various clustering capabilities, transactional and recovery services, remote mirroring technology, remote systems management, and data and file partitioning. Compaq’s John Rose, vice president and general manager of the enterprise computing group, claims the enhancements offer customers a "higher degree of interoperability, a higher degree of friendliness" between the two platforms.

However, these interoperability enhancements won’t find their way into Windows NT until after version 5.0, which is due sometime next year. But Microsoft’s Maritz claims that as Microsoft and Compaq accelerate the interoperability capabilities in Windows NT, it is a basic tenet of the two companies that Windows NT will work with Unix flavors. "We at Microsoft are happy to interoperate with any other environment," he says.

As for Sun’s Cascade, Maritz hints that it may be a blessing in disguise. "Cascade is a begrudging recognition that NT is [an important] server platform," he says.

Lest we think this is not part of the war between Microsoft and Sun, which seems to be growing more and more heated all the time, Compaq’s Rose, when asked if the Microsoft/Compaq initiative had any kind of a name, answered, "We didn’t choose to name it with a detergent tag like Cascade." – Thomas Sullivan, Staff Reporter/Reviews Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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