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This chapter is from the book

Choice and Breadth of Operating Systems and Applications

A real frustration for customers is when the application needed is not available under the operating system that is currently installed and running on a system. For example, you may be running Microsoft Windows, but the application you want runs only under Unix. Often, you're left with only one option—going back to the application vendor and asking them if they can develop a version of the application that will work under your installed operating system.

Many IT organizations today are concerned with the mix of computers using different operating systems on a single network. This has been caused in part by the gradual dominance of the front-end applications by Windows, while the back end continues to use UNIX or other non-Microsoft systems. There's a legitimate concern that a major investment in one type of operating system will result in a severe disadvantage should the investment prove to be in the 'wrong' one.

Under the Itanium processor family, a maximum amount of choice is preserved. You can continue running UNIX or OpenVMS on the back end, for instance, but if the world switched over to Windows or Linux the following day, the impact is minimized. Of course, you'd have to get new applications, but instead of having to replace your hardware you could phase in a transition without the major capital expense and hassle involved in complete replacement.

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