High-end version of Win 2000 reaches milestone

High-end version of Win 2000 reaches milestone

Microsoft yesterday released the second beta of Windows 2000 DataCenter, the high-end version of the company's new operating system.

The DataCenter version of Win 2000 has been touted as a Unix-killer and is designed to push Microsoft into the high-end server market.

The undertaking is an ambitious one for Microsoft, since its software has mostly been relegated to departmental servers. Now the company must meet the requirements for scalability and reliability that enterprises demand for their most critical applications.

Along with the Beta 2 software, Microsoft formally kicked off a joint development program (JDP) for DataCenter with 20 partners, including Abbey National, a bank in the UK; and Data Return, a Web hosting company in Irving, Texas.

Beta 2 will be the last beta before Microsoft develops a release candidate for final testing, in preparation for shipping the server later in the next few months, according to Michel Gambier, group product manager for DataCenter.

The software was originally expected to ship 90 to 120 days after the February 17 launch of the other three Win 2000 products, Professional desktop, Server and Advanced Server. DataCenter is likely to ship in July or early August.

DataCenter will not be available off the shelf like the other Win 2000 products. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) will be required to certify that DataCenter runs on their hardware. Nearly a dozen OEMs are participating in this second beta cycle, and the JDP customers can only get DataCenter Beta 2 through their OEMs. The first beta was sent directly to enterprise customers.

"With this second beta we are instituting all the OEM requirements of the DataCenter version," Gambier says. Those requirements include platform validation, and service and support.

Gambier also said Beta 2 includes the completed Process Management Tool, which allows users to manage workloads on the server and allocate resources such as CPUs and memory. For example, users can assign applications running on DataCenter to a specific processor or set of processors and dynamically change the allocation to handle increased loads.

"Given the focus on server consolidation, this tool is important for the product," Gambier says.

DataCenter Server supports up to 32 processors, 64GB of RAM, four-node clustering, and 32-node network load balancing. It is also optimised for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP).

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