Datacenter Server must be part of a package deal

Datacenter Server must be part of a package deal

Microsoft's high-end operating system available only in bundle with hardware and services

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff

You can't buy Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server in a shrink-wrapped box.

Microsoft Corp. will sell the long-awaited server operating system, for eight to 32 processors, only through approved hardware manufacturers.

Bundling Datacenter Server with a package of hardware, software and services will give users a single point of contact for support, said Shawn Carlson, principal technology specialist for Microsoft Federal in Washington.

The high-end OS, originally set for summer release, is still in the second beta version. Microsoft and Unisys Corp. demonstrated it running on Unisys' Enterprise Server ES7000 at a June 21 meeting for federal officials.

Datacenter Server will go out to server manufacturers sometime this summer, Microsoft spokesman Andrew Scott said. The OS will not become generally available to application developers until later in the year.

More power

Datacenter Server supports up to 64G of memory, eight times more than the current Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Its features include four-node failover clustering and 32-node network load balancing.

The Datacenter Server package will consist of the OS preinstalled on enterprise-level hardware plus integrated services known as the Windows 2000 Datacenter Program, Carlson said.

Unisys is first Microsoft's affiliated vendor to release Datacenter Server hardware (see story, Page 39). Such bundled systems are considered 'released' only when Microsoft and the hardware vendor certify the total package, including the customer's own applications that will run on the system, Carlson said.

'It's not a matter of the product being done or not done,' he said. 'It's when the solution gets certified. So technically [Datacenter Server] is available.'

Agencies that want to install servers with the OS would start by contacting either Microsoft or a hardware vendor, Carlson said. After a review, the vendor would install the agency's applications on the chosen hardware and certify that everything works together.

'Part of the reason you want to buy that big 32-processor box is because you have something that's so critical you need to run it on host-quality hardware and are willing to go through all the pain of certifying the applications,' Carlson said.

Microsoft has no set price for the Datacenter Server software as a standalone product. Promotional literature Microsoft distrib- uted at the June 21 demonstration said the price for a Unisys ES7000 system with Datacenter Server and 32 Pentium III Xeon processors would be about $950,000.

Three agencies'the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments and the IRS'are considering Datacenter Server combinations, but none has signed a formal service-level agreement with a manufacturer, Microsoft Federal spokesman Keith Hodson said.

Representatives of other hardware vendors said their companies are gearing up Datacenter Server packages for release later this year.

Compaq Computer Corp. has opened a Datacenter Server laboratory in Redmond, Wash., with a staff of both Compaq and Microsoft engineers. This fall, Compaq will deploy the enterprise-strength OS on two platforms, said Tim Golden, the company's director of enterprise server product marketing.

The platforms are the eight-way ProLiant 8500 that Compaq sells for other operating systems, and an as-yet unnamed 16- or 32-way server along the lines of the Unisys Enterprise Server ES7000, Golden said.

Jan Clausen, director of electronic-business services for Amdahl Corp.'s services division, said her company is participating in the Datacenter Joint Development Program and is testing its software and support procedures. Amdahl will bring out the OS on its eight-way Primergy HS910 server later this year, marketing analyst John Howell said.

Amdahl has an original equipment manufacturer agreement with its parent company, Fujitsu America Inc. of San Jose, Calif., which is also on Microsoft's list of Datacenter Server vendors.

Other options

Although NEC Computers Inc. of Sacramento, Calif., has had its eight-way server certified for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, the company is not licensed to sell the OS on that server, NEC spokeswoman Beth Makosey said.

NEC's distributors and resellers instead will install the OS on the company's eight-way Express5800 180/Ra-7 server, she said.

Elizabeth Brown, a spokeswoman for Data General Corp., said the company would announce its Datacenter Server plans later.

IBM Corp. will bring out its eight-way Netfinity 8500 server with Datacenter Server and related services later this year, IBM spokeswoman Kathleen Ryan said.

Other providers of Datacenter Server bundles are Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

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