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Microsoft Renames Windows NT

Microsoft's forthcoming Windows NT 5.0 will be renamed Windows 2000. The renamed products in the family also have a new sibling, called Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

Rumors were flying furiously in the last few weeks that Microsoft was contemplating a name change for the forthcoming Windows NT 5.0. Before we could check out our sources, Microsoft confirmed it for us on its own Web site: Windows NT 5.0 would be redubbed "Windows 2000." Here's a quick look at Microsoft's renaming scheme:

  • Windows 2000 Professional = Windows NT Workstation
  • Windows 2000 Server = Windows NT Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server = Windows NT Server for the Enterprise
  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server = Our guess: large-scale enterprise

    Besides other intrinsic capabilities, each version (except for Professional) is characterized by the number of symmetric multiprocessors that it can handle: Server will handle a 2-way SMP server; Advanced Server, 4-way; and Datacenter Server, 16-way.

    Windows 2000 DataCenter Server will also support an astounding 64GB of physical memory -- we're talking a McDonald's Super Size Combo. Datacenter Server is also a distinctly new version, "the most powerful server operating system ever offered by Microsoft," according to the press release.

    As Brad Chase, vice president at Microsoft, explains, "The new naming system eliminates customer confusion about whether 'NT' refers to client or server technology." In effect, the name change signals that the day of convergence is finally here (that is, Windows will mean "Windows," not 3.x, not 98, not NT...), but it will more than likely simplify the process in which software developers—and specifically, Microsoft Solution Providers and partners—build software for Windows. However, it's too soon to tell if the name will truly impact us at home and in the office, since we'll probably be sticking to Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 for at least a year.

    What does this mean to MCPs? How will the name change affect the complexion of the exam requirements for the MCSE title? It might mean more than you think. Already, a gaggle of fellow MCPs have started a Discussion Forum thread, mulling over these questions. To add your two cents, go to the General Discussion thread at http://www.mcpmag.com/forums7 (if you're not a Discussion Forum member, you'll need to register—it's free).

    One interesting side note: We performed a search on Microsoft.com for the phrase "Windows 2000," and it yielded one reference to an article, "Licence to Code: Our Man in Jakarta Comes in from the Cold and Enjoys a Hot Cup of Java," by Paul DiLascia, which appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of Microsoft Interactive Developer Magazine. Paul, you definitely had foresight!

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