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I20 supported at Comdex

Numerous storage, systems, and operating systems vendors have chosen Comdex to announce support for I2O, a specification that enhances network performance and administration.

Numerous storage, systems, and operating systems vendors have chosen the stage of Comdex to announce support for I2O, a specification that enhances network performance and administration.

Among the long list is Novell (NOVL), who will demonstrate a version its IntranetWare platform that takes advantage of I2O. The demonstration includes an I2O Operating System Specific Module (OSM) running on top of IntranetWare. The module will be available for developers in the second quarter of next year.

The I20 specification also extends to drivers contained in a multitude of devices, including hubs and routers. Members of I2O include 3Com, Compaq Computer, Microsoft, as well as Novell, among others.

The I2O specification includes both hardware ingredients and a set of software programming interfaces that are essentially platform-neutral. The vision for the specification is this: Using a single architecture for drivers, developers won't have rewrite a set of interfaces for Microsoft Windows NT, IntranetWare or a Unix flavor when a new networking technology like ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) is adopted within an organization.

The I2O IntranetWare OSM will let developers write to only one version of a device driver for multiple operating systems. Usually, each operating system platform contains its own proprietary devices drivers, but with the new OSM, the time spent configuring drivers for multiple operating systems on a heterogenous network is minimized.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft will also support the input/output standard in Windows NT 5.0, due in the second half of 1997. A Driver Developer's Kit will be released in the first quarter of next year. Unix operating system vendor Santa Cruz Operation also announced it will support I2O in its Gemini next-generation Unix OS, scheduled for release by mid-1997.

Hardware vendors such as Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell Computer are also showcasing servers that incorporate the I2O spec.

The I2O special interest group will make extensions to the spec available to members this week at the show. The extensions cover interoperability with emerging clustering technologies, fiber channel, systems management, and tape storage. Future extensions will include ATM compatibility.

And beginning in the first quarter of next year, new I2O member Cheyenne Software will include the I2O specification in its storage management products.

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