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Sun: Unix beats Windows in "uptime"

Sun Microsystems pushes to make its Unix OS more reliable than Windows NT.

Sun Microsystems has launched the latest volley in the battle to guarantee that its Unix systems are more reliable than competitors' Windows NT machines.

Sun, which already promises customers that its enterprise servers will be available 99.95 percent of the time, announced today a program called SunUp to help software and hardware companies stamp out problems that could take a machine down. Part of the program will tie Sun employees' pay to how well Sun products do in the real world.

The announcement comes a week after IBM, and Unisys joined Hewlett-Packard, Data General, Compaq in guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime guarantees for Microsoft Windows NT systems--less than 9 hours down per year.

However, the NT systems' availability requires "clustered" systems, in which two or more systems are tied together so one can take over if another fails. With clustered systems, Sun's "uptime" guarantee rises to 99.975 percent, and Sun's Netra 1800 ft server for the telecommunications market comes with a 99.999 percent uptime guarantee.

The SunUp program has several components. Sun will foster communication between the company and its customers to share knowledge about how to keep systems up and running. J.D. Edwards and IBM's DB2 database group have joined the list of participants in a Sun program to help tightly integrate their software with Sun machines. Sun also is expanding education and consulting services to help companies achieve better uptime.