Microsoft's number one business partner, Compaq Computer, will use technology from its acquisition of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) to give future versions of Windows NT--beginning with version 6.0--the high-end features it needs to compete with UNIX in the enterprise space. The far-reaching alliance between the two companies, announced on Thursday, calls for Microsoft and Compaq to collaborate on various engineering issues that will bring the scalability and reliability of UNIX into the NT kernel. Additionally, the two companies will add features to Digital UNIX so that it can co-exist in an NT network, providing NT services.
"This will accelerate the suitability of Windows NT for the data center," said Paul Maritz, a Microsoft vice president. Windows NT 6.0 isn't expected until at least 2002.
In the first phase of the collaboration, the two companies will integrate UNIX features into NT, making NT work better in a UNIX environment. Over time, other Compaq technologies, such as its "Non-Stop Kernel" and advanced clustering, will be incorporated into NT as well. Both technologies enable the use of server farms that can act as a single computer.
The timing of this announcement is hardly surprising, given the announcement yesterday by Sun Microsystems that it was making its own UNIX operating system, Solaris, co-exist more easily on NT networks