Windows .NET Server 2003 to Ship in April

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates told a Comdex keynote crowd Sunday night that Windows .NET Server 2003 will ship in April 2003. Release Candidate 2 for the server will be available in a few weeks, Gates said.

It is Microsoft's first month-specific date for when Windows .NET Server 2003 will ship. It represents probably a two-month slip from Microsoft's vague, earlier statements that Windows .NET Server 2003 would be released to manufacturing by the end of calendar year 2002.

"We're in the final countdown," Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We're putting the finishing touches on the product and getting it out to our top customers and industry partners for final testing."

Release Candidate 1 went out to a broad set of customer testers in late July.

Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC, says the delay will have little effect on customers. "I don't think a lot of people have been sitting around waiting for Windows .NET Server," he says.

In advance of the RC2 release, Microsoft has also finalized packaging of the new server operating system, and the announcement held a few surprises, especially for the high-end Windows .NET Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

The 64-bit version of Microsoft's most scaleable operating system will support up to 64 processors and up to 512 GB of RAM. That is up from earlier published support limits of 32 processors and 128 GB of RAM for the 64-bit version of Datacenter. The new limits were apparently introduced to support the Hewlett-Packard Superdome server. HP and Microsoft disclosed that HP is successfully running .NET Datacenter on a Superdome server with 64 Itanium 2 processors and 512 GB of memory.

Other features that had been in flux appear to be locked down. For example, Microsoft had reportedly been considering creating a 64-bit edition of .NET Standard Server, but has settled on 64-bit editions only for the Enterprise Edition and Datacenter Edition.

Processor support for Standard Server will remain at four-way SMP, despite earlier Microsoft documentation that support would drop to two processors from the four-processor support in Windows 2000 Server. Meanwhile, Network Load Balancing will be supported across the server product line. In Windows 2000, the TCP/IP-based NLB clustering technology was only included in Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

.NET Operating System Edition


Max RAM (GB)

W2K Limits




4 proc/4 GB








8 proc/8 GB

64-bit Enterprise







32/64 GB

64-bit Datacenter




About the Author

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


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