Beta Version Of Microsoft OS Still Not Scaling As Billed - InformationWeek

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Beta Version Of Microsoft OS Still Not Scaling As Billed

Microsoft today reached another development milestone on its Windows 2000 DataCenter Server with a second beta release, and next week the vendor plans to ship a second release candidate of Exchange 2000 Server. But the company indicated its high-end DataCenter operating system isn't yet scaling as advertised.

"It's scaling pretty well to eight [CPUs], and we're starting to see some good results on 16," says Microsoft group product manager Michel Gambier. "We may not have 32 [processor support] done" by the time Microsoft releases DataCenter Server to systems manufacturers later this summer, he adds. Windows 2000 DataCenter Server--designed for Internet service providers and other companies running large database systems--is expected to include support for 32 CPUs and 64 Gbytes of memory when it officially launches in late September or early October.

Most customers will buy the systems on eight-way machines configured with 8 to 16 Gbytes of memory, Gambier said recently. Unisys and Compaq this year plan to offer configurations with more CPUs in a single server. "We're starting to see some good results on 16-way," he adds. Tim Golden, Compaq's director of enterprise server marketing, says the chipset his company is licensing from Unisys to support 32-way multiprocessing on Windows is still "preproduction silicon. By the time they release to manufacturing, we may not be done with our testing," he says.

Beta 2 of DataCenter Server will ship to about 300 customers pre- installed on hardware from about a dozen manufacturers. It adds a process control manager feature Microsoft developed with Sequent Computer Systems, now part of IBM. The feature assigns workloads to specific CPUs in a server, so jobs don't fight for resources.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is tuning up another major release, its Exchange 2000 messaging server. A second release candidate is slated for free availability on Microsoft's Web site next week. In addition, the company disclosed today that version 1.5 of Office 2000 Developer edition, due in late July, will include a workflow designer engine for Exchange 2000, so applications can trigger E-mail messages when Office documents are moved around folders in Exchange 2000's Web Store database.

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