Applications

Software maker unites Windows, Unix

As the IT industry awaits greater cooperation between Microsoft and Sun, Utah-based Vintela is already offering products that integrate systems sold by the two computer giants.

SAN DIEGO--And the Unix system will lay down with the Windows system, and lo, there shall be peace among the vendors.

IT folks are hoping for major interoperability improvements between leading server systems, as Sun Microsystems works out the details of its historic detente with Microsoft. But at least one company is already delivering, with products that integrate Unix and Linux applications with Windows environments.

Lindon, Utah-based Vintela makes software for linking the disparate environments, and executives attending Microsoft's TechEd conference said business is brisk, as companies try to mix old Unix applications with slick new Microsoft tools.

"We're allowing these Unix machines to participate as full citizens in a Microsoft environment," said Mike Harris, Vintela's product marketing manager.

The company has two main products. Vintela Authentication Services allows Unix and Linux applications to share user sign-on data and other vital identifiers with Microsoft systems. Vintela Management Extensions lets IT administrators use Microsoft's Systems Management Server to manage Unix systems.

The combination covers many common integration issues, including the frequent challenge of making Microsoft's Active Directory structure communicate with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) structure used by Unix.

Customers often have a few older Unix applications they need to bring into the Windows' fold, or they've acquired some Unix assets as a result of corporate merger, Harris said.

Vintela President David Wilson said the company has become a strategic partner for Microsoft, attempting to help with integration issues that are beyond the software giant's ability or willingness to hash Unix code.

"We are a kind of strange bedfellow to Microsoft, being that 90 percent of our code is Unix," Wilson said. "But they definitely count on us for help with some large accounts...Their strategy up until now has been migration, but now they're realizing customers expect help with integration and making mixed environments work."

While the agreement between Sun and Microsoft promises homegrown solutions to interoperability--both companies have said they're committed to improving integratation between LDAP and Active Directory--Harris is confident that customers will continue to need help with complex integration problems well into the future.

"We're pleased with their agreement," he said. "It's a real validation of what we're doing for Microsoft to say coexistence and interoperability are important."