In an effort to strengthen its position in the emerging enterprise market, SCO introduced today a new version of its UnixWare operating system that it says is more scalable, more affordable, and easier to manage.
UnixWare 7 Business Edition, designed for small and midsize businesses, includes a browser interface, Webtop, that lets users administer their UnixWare servers from any client that has a browser. It also comes with an integrated Web server, unlimited E-mail, streaming audio and video from RealNetworks, and IBM Station Manager, which lets the server administer network computers in a common way. In a nod to the popularity of Linux--the free operating system now supported by all the major hardware vendors, and now pre-installed on IBM's Netfinity computers--UnixWare runs Red Hat Linux applications, in addition to those written for DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95.
SCO says it hopes the $1,399 price tag will encourage small and midsize businesses currently running its Open Server operating system to upgrade to UnixWare. In the past, says Tamar Newberger, director of product management for the company's server division, UnixWare met "their needs featureswise, but not pricewise."
The company also aims to attract businesses that are running RISC Unix operating systems from Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun to switch to UnixWare. SCO claims its software offers better performance, reliability, and scalability, and because it runs on Intel processors, sells for half the price.
When it comes to battling Microsoft and its Windows NT operating system, however, SCO seems to be banking on its Webtop browser interface, which is based on its Tarantella software for network computing. The company expects Webtop to attract people who want the power of Unix but shy away from its command-line interface. The theory, says Newberger, is that "if you know how to use a browser, you know how to use Unix."
Robert Piwowarczyk, president of Enterprise Systems, a value-added reseller in Morrison, Colo., says Webtop gives SCO an advantage over Windows NT, which he also sells. Companies that have older ASCII terminals can use UnixWare with their existing clients and new thin Web clients at the same time. This capability, he says, "gives them the best of both worlds."
Piwowarczyk adds that UnixWare 7 Business Edition is a good fit for emerging enterprises that need a Y2K-ready operating system and that don't want to be locked into a single interface for accessing applications. It comes with not only the standard Unix file and print sharing, but also Windows and NetWare file and print sharing, and it supports Merge, which enables UnixWare to run DOS and Windows applications. "As you develop new applications or change applications, you don't have to buy any additional [servers]," Piwowarczyk says. "It's all in one package."