HP Integrates HP-UX 11 with Windows

Using the least common denominator approach, Hewlett-Packard Co. this month plans to make software available for download that enables communications between its HP-UX 11 and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows.

The product, Common Internet File System (CIFS/9000) for HP-UX 11, provides the end-to-end Unix and Windows system interoperability for mixed Internet and intranet environments.

Ram Appalaraju, the HP-UX product marketing manager at Hewlett-Packard (HP, www.hp.com), says CIFS evolved from Server Message Block, the native file system in Windows.

"There is a need in the marketplace to have Unix interoperate with Windows on the file system level," he says.

CIFS/9000 eliminates the most critical barrier to Unix and Windows system interoperability -- lack of scalable, secure file access -- and offers seamless integration between both environments.

CIFS/9000 for HP-UX 11 complements the Microsoft Common Internet File System (CIFS) -- Microsoft’s standard for remote file access in all Windows platforms since Windows 95 -- and integrates Windows into the mission-critical environment provided by HP-UX 11. CIFS/9000 also runs on TCP/IP networking protocols used in most Internet and intranet environments.

With the CIFS/9000 client and server software, both Windows and HP-UX 11 platforms can be used interchangeably as file servers for each other. This file system also lets HP-UX 11 systems have equal access to information stored on Windows 95/98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, and HP's Unix system platforms. This tightens the interoperability gap between HP’s own Unix and Windows by improving file access between both environments.

Furthermore, CIFS/9000 for HP-UX 11 lets IT managers use a single-user ID and password for client authentication into Unix and Windows system environments. This feature simplifies the manageability of the two environments and reduces costs by allowing IT departments to focus on other tasks.

Al Gillen, research manager for server operating infrastructure at International Data Corp. (IDC, www.idc.com), says that at this time, CIFS/9000 doesn't do all that much that Samba or Advanced Server for Unix (ASU) tools that ship with most flavors of Unix cannot. CIFS/9000 will become more valuable, however, in the post Windows 2000 time frame as Kerberos is adopted since it can handle Kerberos authentication.

"CIFS/9000 is a new technology that is not as fully developed in its initial release as HP plans for it to be. So the potential benefits may increase over time," he says.

Eventually, Gillen says, problems may arise with ASU. On the other hand, Samba, since it is open source, will likely stay current with future technologies and Kerberos changes. That means HP has to keep up with the changes to Samba as well.

"With CIFS/9000, users only have to install it once," Gillen says.

CIFS/9000 will most likely become a preferred technology that HP recommends to its customers, but the company won’t deactivate ASU in the near future.

Gillen sees a potential shortcoming in CIFS/9000. At IDC’s last count, HP-UX 11 owned only 12.5 percent of the new Unix server operating environment license shipments last year.

"It would make sense for HP to make CIFS/9000 available for other Unix platforms, but they haven’t said anything about that yet," he says.

In addition to being available on the Web later this month, CIFS/9000 for HP-UX 11 will ship with future HP-UX 11 servers.