Microsoft and Hewlett Packard (HP) are to offer services aimed at making Windows servers tough enough to run vital business applications.
The companies said their "availability partnership" for Windows will offer guaranteed levels of availability for customer systems.
Duncan Tait, HP mission-critical business manager, said customers are trying to consolidate the number of systems they are running in order to cut costs: "All the customers we are talking to are being asked to do more with less.
"When you have fewer systems, something like availability becomes key. Instead of having a server with a few users on it you might have thousands of transactions or people," he said.
Customers are also looking to move more business critical applications to Windows, Tait said.
A Microsoft/HP team will carry out an assessment of the customer's systems and target where investment should be made to drive up availability, such as a network upgrade.
When the investment is complete, Microsoft and HP will guarantee the level of availability. And if a major fault occurs Microsoft and HP will put a joint engineering team in as part of the ongoing support.
Tait said the service is aimed at sectors such as financial services and has already made one sale to a government organisation.
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