Microsoft senior researcher Dr Jim Gray predicts Windows NT will not need to scale above 10,000 users because clustered servers will be the cheapest and best platform for large installations.
Giving a keynote speech on the final day of the Windows NT/Intranet Solutions show in San Francisco on Friday, Gray admitted Microsoft ?could do better and hopes to do better? in scaling NT. ?But we don?t want to add complexity,? he said. ?There is no need to scale above four servers usually.?
Installations under 10,000 users are faster and cheaper on NT, Gray said, while those over 30,000 require clustering to run fast enough. In between, Gray argued, one server is not available enough and clustering is better. ?Next month, eight-node NT will be launched,? he said.
That upgrade will also include Hydra - NT software that supports thin clients and manages almost all the processing and storage on the server - and Intellimirror, a tool that copies the desktop on to the server and allows a replica of anyone?s computer and files to appear on any other machine. Gray said these additions will drive sales because they combine the benefits of both PC and thin client.
Two-node clustering solves availability problems and is the most popular use for the technology, which is why Microsoft developed that first and is working on further nodes now, Gray continued.
Wolfpack is about to enter its second beta. ?Digital and Tandem have worked on clustering for 18 to 20 years so Wolfpack needs exhaustive testing... which is making us late," Gray said.
He admitted scaling is important because the cost of computing is dropping by seven per cent per month, is getting easier and is finding more uses. The result is billions of clients, which need millions of servers to run them, and thinner clients only add to the demand for more server power.
Gray, assuring attendees that NT can scale to large installations, regurgitated the propaganda of Microsoft?s Scalability Day and announced Terraserver, a publicly available gazetteer including a one terabyte SQL Server database on the Internet. Terraserver features thousands of photos from the US Geological Survey and Spin2, the Russian Space Agency. Its demonstration failed after two successful searches.
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