LAS VEGAS—To buttress its anti-Linux product strategy, The SCO Group Inc. is working with third-party partners that include MySQL AB and EnterpriseDB Corp. on databases, Borland Software Corp. on tools, and NeTraverse Inc. in the virtual server arena, SCO executives said during an annual user conference here this week.
Although Oracle Corp. has declined to support to SCOs software servers, SCO already has long-time commercial database partners that include Computer Associates International Inc., Progress Software Corp., and IBMs Informix group.
More recently, SCO has added open source database vendors MySQL and EnterpriseDB to its partner list, said SCO President and CEO Darl McBride, in a meeting with Ziff Davis Internet at the show.
Yet with SCO and IBM butting heads in their ongoing IP (intellectual property) legal dispute over Linux, how can SCO keep working with IBMs Informix?
“There are some parts of IBM that continue to speak to us,” quipped Erik W. Hughes, SCOs senior director of product management and strategic alliances, during another meeting.
Computer Associates produces the Ingres database, whereas SCOs new ally EnterpriseDB makes a database called PostgreSQL.
Meanwhile, SCO is talking with Borland about the prospect of building new development tools for SCO environments, according to Hughes.
SCOs new pacts with database and tools vendors are part of a broader campaign to recruit new customers and resellers by reaching into additional vertical nooks and crannies.
Tim Negris, announced this week as SCOs new senior vice president of marketing, will work on these efforts. SCO is looking, too, at setting up a new developers program, to be led by ex-IBMer Negris, said Hughes.
At the same time, SCO is collaborating with veteran partner NeTraverse on a new VM (virtual management) environment for SCO OpenServer 6.
The OpenServer 6 VM will act as an intermediate step toward the next major release of OpenServer 6, codenamed Project Fusion. SCO envisions the forthcoming Project Fusion server as allowing simultaneous operation of SCOs OpenServer and UnixWare environments.
NeTraverse has long produced an application called Merge, for running Microsoft Windows applications with OpenServer.
But in a role reversal, it will be SCO, rather than NeTraverse, that will sell OpenServer 6 VM, which is slated for release by the end of this year.
The VM will also add support for newer Microsoft environments, including Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003, Hughes told Ziff Davis Internet.
This fall, SCO will announce a new mobile initiative that will be based on Web services, said Chris Sontag, senior vice president of SCOs Operating Systems Division, also during the conference.
Yet some users at the show in Las Vegas said they have no need, at this point, for a new virtual environment.
“Weve always had Merge,” said Don McKeny, CEO of Mardon Healthcare Information Systems, of Mesa, Ariz. McKeny uses Microsoft Windows software with his health care customers for Internet connectivity.
Beyond that, though, he deploys only SCO software environments, due to concerns around system reliability, back-up, and tech support.
“I cant really see us using anything but SCO [software] with our customers,” agreed J. Douglas Ritchie, manager of technical services at ProCom Professional Computer Solutions, Columbia, Md.
Internally, ProCom runs SCO servers with Windows desktops. “But we dont sell Windows desktop [software] to customers, because they might want Windows servers, too, and we dont want to get into maintaining those,” Ritchie said.
If customers are interested in Windows desktops, ProCom refers them elsewhere, “usually to Dell,” according to the reseller.
SCO pursues more OpenServer
When it comes to Linux, Ritchie has other worries. “Weve tested Linux internally, but the servers kept coming down,” he told Ziff Davis Internet.
Ritchie said that hes already installed SCO OpenServer 6 for the “Do It Best” retail hardware firm.
Over the next week or so, he plans to install OpenServer at a vending machine company, as well as for a distributor of plywood and marine supplies.
The vending machine company is upgrading to OpenServer 6 because its third-party order distribution software is no longer offered on the PC-based SCO legacy system formerly in use.
Many customers are now about ready to migrate to new turnkey systems from hardware and software bought during the Y2K era, according to Ritchie.
ProComs marine distributor customer, on the other hand, wants the extra performance available with OpenServer 6, in order to “reduce the time spent on nightly procedures.”
But users and analysts alike said they think it makes sense for SCO to spawn more third-party applications so as to step into new vertical markets.
Although Linux looks likely to keep leading other PC environments in terms of Web servers and infrastructure, SCO stands a good chance of maintaining its popularity for targeted, industry-specific solutions, said Al Gillen, an analyst at IDC, during an interview here.
As Gillen sees it, SCOs two OSes and Novell Inc.s NetWare are now situated somewhat similarly with customers. SCO and NetWare each have loyal long-time fans.
He cautioned, however, that SCOs legal battles may have dampened its opportunities to reel in new customers, particularly in untried markets. “[So] new applications will be very important for SCO,” he said.