Although the Data Center Server (DCS) version of Windows 2000 will not ship for up to six months after the other releases, it will not be a best of breed operating system (OS) in any data centre context until at least 2002.
The delay will not see Microsoft making the kernel more robust, but it will give the software giant time to undertake more testing and add some functionality that was originally intended to go in Windows 2000 Advanced Server, according to Joe Barkan, Gartner Group analyst at the market research firm?s Windows NT in the Enterprise conference in Palm Springs on Monday.
This functionality is likely to include support for more than four processors and four node clustering, support for 36bit memory addressing on Intel chips and 64bit addressing on Alpha, and 4 Gbyte memory tuning.
Barkan said: ?Microsoft has started to realise that Windows 2000 has weaknesses as a data centre product and it?s working on that, both internally and with its hardware OEMs. It still has a long way to go, however, and there?s a lot of holes. A few years ago, we used to get five calls from users concerned about scalability issues to every one about availability, but the opposite is now true.?
While NT?s scaleability is getting better due to improvements in hardware performance, Microsoft and the database vendors? intended support of 64bit addressing will improve this further, he continued.
Barkan expects DCS to be the only iteration of Windows 2000 to support 64bit functionality, however, and he warned that only a small number of applications would be able to exploit the capability until at least 2004.
He also claimed that Microsoft would not support 32bit versions of NT running on IA-64 systems and that 32bit Windows applications were likely to run slower than on IA-32 hardware.
Scalability via clustering will also take time to mature and is unlikely to match Unix?s capabilities until 2003, but Microsoft will continue to struggle with the reliability issue until at least 2001, when Windows 2000 is expected to stabilise.
As for manageability, while this will improve over time, enterprises should in the interim, look at consolidating their multiple NT servers according to service or application type.
This is because NT will not be able to run more than one application type effectively on the same machine until 2001 and, as a result, 75 per cent of large enterprises will continue to use the one package per server concept until at least 2002.
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