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Technology / AI and automation


File server company Auspex Systems Inc says increased spending on product development led to a 58% dip in its first quarter earnings to $1.8m from $4.3m last time, on revenue up 13% at $48.6m compared with $43m last time. Its balance sheet shows general spending outpaced the rise in research and development costs, but the company also blamed weaker than expected sales in Japan for the dip, where it’s getting a four-month old Auspex KK subsidiary off the ground. The company is competing for business in the $3.5bn Unix Network File System market growing at 25% annually with other specialist shops such as Network Appliance Inc and an ailing Tricord Systems Inc, as well as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard Co (the latter less so, supposedly). It says it’s taking short-term hits for long-term gain, because future hopes rest on the introduction of a native Windows NT version of its currently Unix-based file server in fiscal 1998, and on sales of the existing NetServer line with new Netservices software designed to support the management of Unix and NT files and data from the same machine (CI No 3,208). For Netservices, due to ship this quarter, Auspex has implemented Microsoft’s CIFS file service protocol on top of AT&T’s Advanced Server for Unix, the functional equivalent of Windows NT Advanced running on Unix. In addition Auspex is expected to upgrade its Unix NetServers with new, and reportedly less-proprietary, hardware and software, plus the ability to run NT on a network co-processor. It’s for Unix users, especially of Sun servers, who want NT on the side, and should enable Unix and NT clients to get at data on a single server. It’s due out in the second half of 1998. The port of Auspex’s Functional Multiprocessing software – its crown jewels – to Intel-based NT systems, is due in mid-1998. Auspex claims to have banned the use of emulation tools for its NT work, unlike rival Network Appliance’s own NT product, it says. Auspex’s growth markets are said to be oil and gas, mechanical computer aided design, and the telecommunications market.

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