It seems the world really is big enough for both Windows and Linux. Earlier this month some of the heat was taken out of the long-standing rivalry between Microsoft and the Linux community thanks to a collaborative effort between old enemies Microsoft and Novell. The result is that we will see Windows Server and Novell SuSE Enterprise Linux work better together.
Both Windows and Linux are making headway in the datacentre. They are not really competing as each is finding its own niche for datacentre systems. What is happening, though, is that Windows and Linux are replacing proprietary Unix servers running Aix, HP-UX and Solaris.
“Replace expensive Risc servers with commodity PC servers” used to be how Windows was sold; the same is true of Linux. Now, the rival camps have formed an unlikely alliance that is putting the nails in the coffin for proprietary Unix.
A more mature Microsoft is finally accepting that, try as it may, it will not be able to replace every Unix system with a Windows server. At the same time, Linux is a natural alternative to Unix. In fact, one could argue that Linux represents everything Unix should have been – an open, hardware-independent platform.
Microsoft is betting that Windows will replace some proprietary Unix systems, while Linux replaces the remainder. For this strategy to succeed, Windows needs to work seamlessly alongside Linux, hence the tie-up with Novell.
This has got to be good news for every IT department. In the real world, IT is heterogeneous. Users should not have to pay because rival suppliers refuse to support seamless communications between their respective technologies.
Other IT suppliers should take note. Compatibility and interoperability make good business sense for everyone.
Interoperability boost >>
This was first published in November 2006