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IBM, Unisys Join NT "99.9" Club

IBM Corp. and Unisys Corp. have joined the group of systems vendors guaranteeing 99.9 percent availability for Windows NT Server 4.0 network operating systems.

IBM and Unisys follow Data General Corp., which was first to market with a 99.9 percent commitment in October and offers the same availability guarantee for SQL Server 7.0, Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

The previous standard for NT guarantees was about 99.5 percent uptime. The difference cuts unscheduled downtime from a little under 44 hours per year to slightly less than 9 hours per year.

By Unix standards, the "three nines" of the NT guarantees are in a different league from the "five nines," 99.999 percent uptime, that vendors like HP and Sun plan to provide for their Unix operating systems by 2000. A 99.999 percent guarantee would mean a little over 5 minutes of unscheduled downtime per year.

Mike Nash, Microsoft Corp.’s director of Windows NT Server and infrastructure marketing, presented the announcements as more evidence that NT is ready for the data center. "These 99.9 percent commitments will enable even more customers to take advantage of Windows NT Server and Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition for mission- and business-critical deployments," Nash said in a statement.

IBM’s guarantee applies to customers purchasing Netfinity 5500 M10 and 7000 M10 servers in selected configurations with Microsoft Windows NT clustering software. IBM Global Services will provide installation, remote monitoring, software support and 24X7 support, including a two-hour, on-site response guarantee. IBM plans to begin offering the service in the United States March 1.

Details of Unisys’ forthcoming uptime commitment have not yet been released. The Blue Bell, Pa.-based company plans for its availability services to support single and clustered systems and target several market sectors: stock exchanges, airlines, telecommunications companies and banks. -- Scott Bekker, Staff Reporter

About the Author

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

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