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Windows 2000 Datacenter Server Completes Windows 2000 Launch

The official introduction of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server on Tuesday completes the Windows 2000 product family launch that started in February.

Datacenter Server is Microsoft Corp.’s entry into the high-end of the enterprise market, intended to compete with the Unix variants for data center-class implementations.

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 Edition.

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 (PAE).

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) environment.

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 systems.

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, Enterprise Edition.

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, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/guide/datacenter/overview/default.asp.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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