Hewlett-Packard (HP) is claiming to be the first company to offer a 99.9% uptime commitment for Windows NT Server, the company announced at the launch of its Mission Critical Windows NT Programme last week.
The initiative is based upon the HP Mission Critical Server Suite for Windows NT which includes a clustered configuration of the HP NetServer LXr 8000 system, Critical Systems Support for Windows NT, OpenView/Manage X, TopTools and Microsoft Windows NT Enterprise Server Edition.
The NT Programme also includes the creation of a Mission Critical Solutions Centre, where HP and Microsoft engineers will develop, test and certify hardware and software on the Windows NT platform. It will also see HP Consulting Services focusing on providing hardware, software and management products for Windows NT that will improve NT's availability.
Robin Bloor, CEO of Bloor Research, dismissed the announcement. "This is a 'get good press' story," he said, indicating that the announcement was designed to strengthen HP's standing with Microsoft. "The truth of this situation is that when they claim high availability (for NT), they are actually saying they've collected a suitable set of products. It's a sad admission that (high availability) is not part of NT."
Bloor added that similar results could be claimed for any operating system with the right set of hardware to support it. "You can get 99.9% uptime by throwing in RAID disks, a UPS and SMP. Everybody knows that NT hasn't got good availability - you could probably write the same story for HP-UX, Solaris or Linux, he said."
Tikiri Wanduragala, senior consultant at IBM, agreed with Bloor. "99.9% is equivalent to one and a half days per year (of downtime)," he said.
"People are really shooting for 99.9999%, which is 2-3 hours per year.
This is the Holy Grail that midrange and mainframe customers are used to."
The HP Mission Critical Windows NT Programme does not extend to uptime commitments for "applications, network or third party products" but HP says it will be addressing these issues. Wanduragala pointed out, "They're talking about a system that's just running as a file server."
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