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Tandem cozies up to NT

Like much of the industry, CEO Roel Pieper is falling in love with Microsoft Windows NT.

    SAN FRANCISCO--Like much of the industry, Tandem Computers (TDM) CEO Roel Pieper is falling in love with Microsoft Windows NT.

    The mustached CEO, speaking to an opening-day crowd at the Windows NT Intranet Solutions conference here, sketched a future in which NT-based clustered systems will play an increasing role alongside older high-end systems, like his company's Himalaya systems.

    That's not news. But Pieper came out wielding fresh evidence that NT systems will soon gain powerful tools that could interest administrators.

    Tandem chose this NT-focused show as an appropriate venue to announce a new two-node clustered server within a single box, capable of handling two four-way computers. The announcement is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg, as elements of the next version of NT--especially enterprise-focused enhancements--come closer to reality.

    "The cluster is really the computer of the future," Pieper noted, alluding to the company's new mantra.

    At a news conference following his presentation, Pieper assured users that the new cluster implementations from the company would be compatible with Microsoft's Cluster Server (formerly code-named Wolfpack) even though that portion of Windows NT has not officially been released.

    He also said that many companies' recent focus on NT should not be interpreted as an abandonment of older technologies, such as Tandem's Himalaya line of systems. "What we need to build together is an enterprise NT market," he said. "There is nothing here that says you shouldn't do Unix. This is about multiple solutions for multiple markets."

    Tandem is expected to further leverage Windows NT once a merger with PC server Compaq Computer is complete.

    Pieper said that although the high-end, enterprise NT market may be in its embryonic stages, companies that move their applications onto the operating system and implement NT-based systems within their network schemes will be part of a first wave that could prove beneficial down the road. "We are clearly at the early stages of this market," he said.

    Indeed, Microsoft's Windows NT Server operating system is turning into a booming business, spawning shows like this one and causing various market researchers to feverishly rework growth numbers. Most analyst houses predict Windows NT will become the largest selling operating system by 1999. It already outsells all flavors of the Unix operating system.

    The Windows NT Intranet Solutions conference will continue through the end of the week.