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Sun fights to keep Unix position

Sun continues the battle to keep its version of Unix operating system software at the forefront of the market amid a consolidation spree.

    Sun Microsystems continues to wage a battle to keep its version of Unix operating system software at the forefront of the market amid a consolidation spree.

    As reported last Friday, Siemens Nixdorf is the latest firm to adopt Sun's Solaris OS for upcoming server computers based on the Merced 64-bit microchip from Intel, due next year.

    Sun garnered support for Solaris from systems player NCR last August and Asian giant Fujitsu earlier this month.

    The relationships are part of an ongoing consolidation in the Unix market that should reduce the number of variations of the software. Santa Cruz Operation and Digital Equipment also are making various third-party deals involving their Unix "flavors."

    Under terms of the pact, European company Siemens has agreed to adopt Sun's OS for forthcoming 64-bit server systems and will provide technologies from its Reliant Unix variant for clustering and high availability as part of an upcoming 2.8 version of Solaris.

    Siemens will deliver systems based on Merced in the second half of next year and plans to standardize on Solaris by 2002.

    "We think it helps the consolidation of Unix as well as adding to the richness of Solaris," said John McFarlane, president of the Solaris software division.

    Siemens Nixdorf executives said it made sense to consolidate around a single platform rather than continuing to develop its own version of operating system software.

    Siemens Nixdorf also plans to use the forthcoming Merced chip throughout its server systems, from low-end machines based on Microsoft's Windows NT to high-end mainframes.

    Hewlett-Packard also weighed in today, reaffirming partnerships with three systems firms. Only IBM has remained silent during this unique period of Unix partnerships.