Microsoft Clarifies W2K Uses with Gold Code
- By Scott Bekker
The Windows 2000 gold code contains no new feature
surprises, but the documentation for the gold code includes some marketing
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
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
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
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
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.