Microsoft has released its Windows Server 2003 operating system to manufacturers, along with the 64-bit version of its SQL Server 2000 database.
The software giant said that Windows Server 2003 incorporates new security and reliability features.
Over 70,000 industry partners will market, deploy and service Windows Server 2003 when it formally launches on 24 April. More than 550,000 customers have signed up for preview programme betas.
Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows server division, said in a statement: "Our early-adopter customers are confirming that Windows Server 2003 is delivering by driving down overall IT costs and providing the highest level of performance and reliability."
Microsoft claimed that Windows NT Server 4.0 customers migrating to Windows Server 2003 will see the biggest benefits, with systems that are 100 times more scalable at one-tenth the cost per transaction compared to the original NT Server 4.0.
Also released today, 64-bit SQL Server 2000 is designed to support memory-intensive and high-performance applications running on 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.
Microsoft explained that customers will particularly benefit from performance on Intel's largest Itanium 2-based, 64-way multiprocessing systems.
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