NT 5.0 still far from networking nirvana

NT 5.0 still far from networking nirvana

Windows NT 5.0 may be far sup-erior to the current version, but it's still far from networking nirvana, Microsoft president Steve Ballmer said at the recent Network+Interop conference.

In the course of a keynote address, Ballmer said Microsoft still has considerable work to do after it ships NT 5.0 next year to give the operating system the sort of mainframe-like and Unix-like reliability and manageability users increasingly demand.

"I'm going to admit to you that we have a long way to go,'' he said.

Ballmer said NT can stand more improvement in the following main areas: configuration management, availability and reliability, and scalability.

NT 5.0 begins to address these areas through such things as profile-based and centralised management and software distribution and application load balancing.

But it will take several years before PCs can rival mainframes in terms of predicting and then preventing potential problems, Ballmer said. As an example of the challenge, he cited one Microsoft customer that automatically reboots a particular server every four weeks because otherwise the server will start to bog down. Yet neither it nor Microsoft has been able to figure out exactly what is causing the problem.

In addition to such "health monitoring" and better diagnostics, what is still needed is more sophisticated clustering, batch tools for automating routine network tasks and event management, Ballmer said.

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