Windows 2000 Datacenter Server Completes Windows 2000 Launch
- By Scott Bekker
The official introduction of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
on Tuesday completes the Windows 2000 product family launch that started in
Datacenter Server is Microsoft Corp.’s entry into the high-end
of the enterprise market, intended to compete with the Unix variants for data
Datacenter Server has no precedent within Microsoft’s
Windows NT line of servers. Windows 2000 Advanced Server is the direct update
to Microsoft’s previous high-end offering, Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise
Datacenter Server contains all of Advanced Server's standard
components including Network Load Balancing, failover clustering and support
for greater than 4 GB of memory through the use of Physical Address Extensions
The new operating system exceeds Advanced Server’s
capabilities in several of those areas. It supports up to 64 GB of RAM where
Advanced Server supports up to 8 GB, and it supports four-node failover
clustering where Advanced Server’s limit is two nodes.
Windows 2000 Datacenter Server also is capable of running on
32 processors in a single system, which is supported in hardware by the new
Unisys Corp. CMP systems that several other hardware manufacturers are reselling.
Another new feature of the high-end OS is Winsock Direct to
assist high-speed transaction processing in a system area network (SAN)
Perhaps the most important feature of Datacenter Server is
the Windows Datacenter Program. Unlike all previous Microsoft software,
Datacenter Server will only be sold by hardware OEMs. The OEMs, including
Compaq, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys and others, must stress test
complete systems before shipping them to customers. The OEMs and Microsoft will
also cooperate on support through a joint support queue that gives end users a
single point of contact.
Advanced Server was launched Feb. 17 with Windows 2000
Server and Windows 2000 Professional. Datacenter Server’s launch was supposed
to follow the rest of the Windows 2000 family by 60 days, although the release
was pushed back several times. Part of that delay was due to finalizing the
Windows Datacenter Program.
Microsoft first revealed the existence of Windows 2000
Datacenter Server in late 1998 at the same time as the company changed the name
of Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000.
Datacenter Server has been in beta testing since the spring
with a customer base of a few hundred organizations. The small number of beta
testers reflects the limited market for the expensive, high-performance
Several vendors have run Transaction Processing Performance
Council (www.tpc.org) OLTP benchmarks using
beta code of Datacenter Server on eight-processor servers. Benchmark performance
has jumped over performance of similar systems running Windows NT 4.0 Server,
Microsoft recommends Datacenter Server for application
service providers, dot-coms, enterprises needing line of business solutions and
infrastructure situations involving multiple operating systems. – Ted Williams
For Microsoft’s overview on Windows 2000 Datacenter Server,
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.