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Microsoft Clarifies W2K Uses with Gold Code

The Windows 2000 gold code contains no new feature surprises, but the documentation for the gold code includes some marketing refinements.

Nearly four years in the making as of its Dec. 15 release to manufacturing, Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 2000 has been the most widely tested and heavily scrutinized product to come out of Redmond. With Microsoft’s (www.microsoft.com) emphasis on reliability for this version of its business operating system, the company declared Windows 2000 feature complete last spring when Beta 3 shipped. That meant existing features could be dropped -- as happened with the in-memory database and component load balancing -- but new features would not be added.

That's not to say there won't be any surprises. Analysts at GartnerGroup (www.gartnergroup.com) predict the real surprises in Windows 2000 are the bugs that will be found after the first Service Pack release when IT professionals will have Y2K concerns completely behind them and will focus on rigorously testing the operating system.

The Windows 2000 gold code documentation does reveal some refinements in marketing strategy since Microsoft printed up a similar document for the Beta 3 version of Windows 2000.

In Beta 3 documentation, Microsoft said the operating system meets the major customer requirements, which at that time were listed as increasing overall system reliability and scalability, comprehensive Internet and application services, and powerful end-to-end management to reduce the total cost of ownership.

Now, Microsoft is saying the leading customer requirements for Windows 2000 are letting customers Internet-enable their businesses, strengthening system reliability, cutting costs with improved management, and taking advantage of a new generation of hardware devices.

The Internet-enablement customer requirement jumps on the e-everything bandwagon and is the new home for several of Microsoft’s former Windows 2000 stories, including scalability, security, and the integration of application services.

The new customer requirements for taking advantage of cutting-edge hardware devices such as plug-and-play cameras and infrared ports is an interesting spin on the frequent criticism that the hefty system requirements of Windows 2000 will force IT managers to buy new systems prematurely.

That said, Microsoft has scaled the hardware requirements back slightly from Beta 3 to gold code. The processor requirement has dropped from 200 MHz Pentium to 133 MHz Pentium; the minimum memory was halved from 128 MB to 64 MB; and the recommended memory has been cut from 256 MB to 128 MB for Windows 2000 Server.

Microsoft also more clearly marked the boundaries between the server SKUs of Windows 2000 and how the company intends for customers to use them. Windows 2000 Server is expected to be a multipurpose network operating system for organizations of all sizes, while Advanced Server is supposed to be used as an operating system for e-commerce and line-of-business applications. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, scheduled for release several months after the Feb. 17 availability of the other iterations, is intended for an organization’s most mission-critical enterprise server systems, Microsoft says.

The company now says Windows 2000 Advanced Server will support up to 8 GB of memory with Intel Corp.’s (www.intel.com) 36-bit Physical Address Extensions. The artificial limit appears to be a customer support issue rather than a technical limitation. Plans call for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server to support the full 64 GB of memory that 36-bit extensions allow. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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