Microsoft's upcoming Windows 2000 operating system is finally ready for prime time use in data centres, Unisys CEO Larry Weinbach claimed at Comdex last week.
He also predicted that the next wave of data centre users will be `hybrids', companies that will combine tradit- ional bricks-and-mortar operations with becoming a `dot-com' firm.
Weinbach was speaking at the unveiling of a demonstration that ran throughout the Comdex show at Unisys' booth. It featured a Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Data Center Server-based e-business transaction processing system which the company dubbed `The Data Center of the Next Millennium.'
The data centre is able to handle 4000 transactions per second and deal with more than 3 billion Web hits, according to Unisys. Such data centres will enable companies to move into the hybrid arena, Weinbach said.
The Unisys CEO quipped that what Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates had demonstrated the previous night during his Comdex keynote address in relation to Windows 2000 was `kid's stuff'. `He was showing you 5 million hits, we're showing you 3 billion hits.'
`People said Windows 2000 wasn't ready for prime time, that's not a fact,' Weinbach said.
`This stuff is real.' He said the system will provide 99.99 per cent availability. The purchase price of a Windows 2000-based data centre will be between 20 to 33 per cent of a similar Unix environment, Weinbach added.
He wouldn't be drawn on what exact costs might be or what the comparative total costs of ownership of Windows 2000-based and Unix-based systems might be.
Joining Weinbach on stage were Microsoft president Steve Ballmer and EMC CEO Mike Ruettgers. Ballmer admitted Windows 2000's delivery date of February next year is somewhat later than Microsoft would have wanted while Ruettgers claimed that EMC was the first vendor to predict that NT would supplant Unix in the data centre market two years ago.
However, Reuttgers said that the delays in the shipment of Windows 2000 coupled with users' concerns about the operating system's scalability and reliability means it will be about five years before data centre usage of Windows does overtake that of Unix.