Mon, 16 Nov 87 12:00:36 est
Responses to Request for Information
13 November 1987
A couple of months ago, I sent out a request for information about
PC networking software that would link IBM AT compatibles with Unix
minicomputers over TCP/IP. Responses are still coming in to that
request. However, here is a synopsis of the replies to date.
Based on our research, to which these replies greatly contributed,
we are leaning toward a NetBIOS solution, with 386s running Xenix and
minicomputers running Unix variants as servers. We are looking at
NetBIOS over TCP, but intend to investigate NetBIOS
over OSI in the future. We now testing several products in house;
should the test results prove unsatisfactory, we will probably
recommend Sun's NFS as a fallback solution.
We've heard several opinions, some of which we can't quote here, that
NetBIOS has a highly questionable future. However, we have seen
a great number of vendors providing NetBIOS based applications
software and NetBIOS over TCP boards. Many vendors are working
on RFC (1001, 1002) compliant versions of their products.
We know that the Air Force ULANA procurement for
Unix systems requires a NetBIOS interface be provided within one
year of award. We know of both baseband and broadband boards which
support NetBIOS, giving us greater latitude in our implementation.
We've also heard opinions that users won't really be happy with
a virtual drive, as they need the pure DOS environment for
some applications and the pure Unix environment for others. Those
who espouse this belief prefer to connect the environments with
telnet and ftp. We agree that this might be the best for some situations,
especially in scientific and engineering communities. In fact, most
of those who liked this solution were operating in exactly that kind
of environment. However, our community consists of a large number of
business users who don't have much computer experience and don't have
the time or inclination to learn a complex user interface. Our direction
is to find something as transparent as possible for them. With that
direction, we are continuing the quest for the virtual drive.
We are also still following up on replies to our original posting
and on other leads. We welcome further input and will post a second
synopsis later if there is sufficient interest.
Thanks to all who contributed.
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