In a string of networking announcements this week Sun Microsystems, as reported briefly (CI No 693) is offering an IBM mainframe direct channel connect facility for its workstations, and a facility for diskless Sun stations to be supported by non-Sun servers. The IBM channel connect product is a hardware and software package based on a VME board that goes into the Sun workstation. Also part of the announcement was the fact that IBM is adopting Sun’s Remote Procedure Call and External Data Representation definitions which were originally defined by Sun as the basis of its highly successful Network File System product. For its part Sun will support IBM’s Advanced Program to Program Communications and Document Interchange Architecture protocols. LanDisk is a package that allows diskless Suns to be supported by servers other than those provided by Sun, and will be licensed to any manufacturer that wants it. The Mountain View, California company also says that it intends to converge TOPS, the product developed by its recent acquisition, Centram Systems West Inc, with Sun’s own Network File System and enable them to talk to each other. Within the announcement Sun stated that all its networking products will now be characterised under the global term Sun Open Systems Network. Sun’s aims in this field are to make the network more and more invisible and to keep up with the increase in speed across networks and the power enhancements of machines. Sun will also be addressing network security and reliability. The IBM channel connect will join DECNet in Sun’s SunLink offerings and the new facility will be available in August costing $20,000. The new version of TOPS will be available in the third quarter.
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