Chrysler To Switch From Unix To NT Workstations - InformationWeek

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Chrysler To Switch From Unix To NT Workstations

Chrysler Corp. said yesterday that it plans to replace itsUnix-based computer-aided design workstations with Windows NT-based Intel workstations over the next three to four years.

The migration, which involves replacing around 4,000 IBM and Silicon Graphics workstations, will begin in January. That deployment coincides with the scheduled release late this year of Dassault Systemes SA CATIA Version 5.0 CAD/CAM software on NT.

Though CATIA 5.0 will ship on both Unix and NT, Chrysler is looking to consolidate most of its workstation software on a single platform. Today, users have both a Unix workstation, running CATIA, as well as a PC on their desktops. Exchanging information between the workstations (where design work is done) and the PCs (where users write reports, exchange E- mail, and use collaborative applications) is clumsy.

Additionally, distributing software to the workstations is complicated because the company is using two different versions of Unix. NT's price/performance was another factor that weighed in Chrysler's decision, says an official with the carmaker.

"This gives us a chance to have a single, seamless implementation of everything on a single desktop," says Norman Powell, manager of technical services for the technical computing center at Chrysler.

The three- to four-year phase-in period is primarily defined by the fact that Chrysler leases its workstations on a three-year cycle. The NT boxes will replace all but the top 10% of the company's design workstations -- those boxes that handle heavy-duty computer-aided engineering tasks will remain on Unix. Chrysler already has extensive experience with NT Workstation with a couple of hundred machines running facilities-management and planning software.

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