If Project Monterey partners Compaq, IBM, Intel, SCO, and Sequent have their way, the year 2000 - which for a time was expected to be the death knell for Unix - could in fact herald a new era for the operating system.
The companies, partnering to develop a Unix platform for Intel's forthcoming 64-bit architecture as well as for existing 32-bit systems and IBM's Power architecture, gathered in Santa Cruz, California, last week to offer rosy predictions about the price-performance possibilities the Intel-Unix marriage could bring.
"In spite of all the rumours and opinions that Unix would end, it didn't," said Doug Michaels, chairman and CEO at SCO.
According to Michaels, the failure of Windows NT to serve enterprise needs has breathed new life into Unix, and the platform stands to win big with the delivery of Intel's IA-64 chips, which he called the greatest volume opportunity Unix has ever seen.
"The Intel architecture has the potential to displace the proprietary RISC and mainframe architectures that have been kings for so long," Michaels said.
That, Michaels pointed out, could ultimately lead to the demise of the client/server computing model, leading to a world in which price-performance levels for mission-critical servers reach new heights.
To help take advantage of the Unix-Intel combination, the Project Monterey partners announced they have identified specific target markets, such as enterprise resource planning, electronic commerce, and business intelligence, for which they will develop "solution stacks", or complete enterprise solutions, for Unix on the Intel platform.
Phillip Joung, chief technology officer at San Francisco-based Embark.com, noted that the idea of running Unix on Intel-based machines is attractive, especially if technologies are put in place to ensure the availability of the systems.
"I believe Unix can be useful for many things, and [IA-64] certainly makes it more attractive," Joung said.