Sun Microsystems Inc says will introduce version 2.6 of the Solaris Unix operating system on August 18 to run on its so- called Tasmo workgroup servers that will be pitched directly against Windows NT servers in the sub-$20,000 market for departmental intranet systems. Sun expects its OEMs in the Intel camp to announce Pentium Pro and Pentium II intranet servers running 2.6 in the same timeframe. Sun claims its renewed Solaris-on-Intel campaign will take advantage of the softening of the 3DA Unix alliance between Hewlett-Packard Co and Santa Cruz Operation Inc on next-generation Unix-for-Intel. The entry- level Solaris Server for Intranet system software bundle is described as the last server [software] in the chain before clients, by VP Solaris server products Rich Green. Sun decided sometime ago that to compete with NT it would begin to sell different versions of Solaris customised for different applications and price points (CI No 3,179). Solaris Server for Intranets is the first of these; there will be other packages to follow for enterprise users, internet service providers and workstation customers using the previously-described Solaris 2.6 system software as the foundation. Sun’s going to build a marketing campaign around key advantages its says Solaris for intranets has over NT, which are price, reliability and ease of use. On top of the basic Solaris 2.6 kernel comes an integrated WebServer HTTP daemon that replaces Apache and NCSA basic web servers, plus internet mail and SunScreen SKIP security. A key attraction to customers who would otherwise turn to NT is claimed to be the inclusion of the highly-regarded Syntax Inc TotalNET PC-Unix connectivity software as SunLink. The Syntax software – which Sun picked up back in February for its Netra i servers – translates between NFS and other network file system protocols, enabling Unix to be viewed and accessed by all kinds of network clients – including Windows, NT, NetWare, OS/2, Mac and others – as if it were a Windows NT server. Users get direct access to the Unix file system and printers, using PC LAN commands. It uses Microsoft-style file and record locking. WebStart offers browser- based setup and administration, claimed to eliminate command line work. SunSoft says that unlike NT, the various server components – web, security, email, Java, file/print and applications – can each be re-booted individually without having to bring the whole system down. In addition to its two-year subscription price model (CI No 3,179), SunSoft’s also offering conventional per-user pricing; 2.6 server on Sparc and Intel costs $700 for five users versus NT Server, which Sun says is $800. The Solaris intranet package with all of the above software starts at $1,300, compared with NT server configured for intranets which Sun says costs from $1,800. Sun says VARs will tailor the package for particular customer or application requirements; it’ll do a separate drop of the code for its Netra servers. Sun claims Solaris 2.6 offers 30% faster database performance, three times faster Java performance, 30% faster web performance and 80% more efficient I/O than previous editions. The workstation cut of 2.6 will effectively be available at the same time, SunSoft says; it’s the 2.6 kernel plus existing graphics options.