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Microsoft Introduces Clustering, Management Support

DALLAS -- Microsoft Corp. had a little help from its friends today at TechEd 99 to showcase multinode clustering, server consolidation and management solutions that reportedly extend the availability and scalability of Windows NT/2000 Server.

The demo included large-memory support using Intel Corp.'s Physical Address Extension on an Intel 8-way Pentium III Xeon server, a workload management tool from Sequent Computer Systems Inc. (www.sequent.com), and new technology from IBM Corp. that allows the NT 4.0 Server Enterprise Edition to cluster and manage up to eight servers.

"Today's announcements demonstrate how enterprise customers can benefit from the rapid rate of innovation on the Windows platform," says Deborah Willingham, vice president of marketing for the Microsoft business and enterprise division.

The demo today also helped Intel show off its PAE-based large-memory support based on the Profusion chip set running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server with 8 GB of physical memory. Unisys Corp. (www.unisys.com) just announced 8-way results yesterday from its pre-release version of the Profusion that boosted performance of a customer application 2.5 times over a 4-way system.

The showcase was Microsoft's, however, as the company used the same hardware platform to demonstrate multi-instance database capabilities of the upcoming version of Microsoft SQL Server.

Microsoft also announced it is closely working with several enterprise systems vendors to implement a full range of solutions for workload management and server partitioning. Process Control, a new management tool jointly developed by Sequent and Microsoft, assists system managers in managing the allocation of critical server resources, including processor affinity, scheduling priority, allowable number of processes, memory use amounts and limits to the amount of CPU time used for a specific workload. This tool, which uses the Job Object Applications Programming Interface, will be a component of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

IBM announced new clustering technology that extends the capabilities of Microsoft Cluster Server to manage and enable 8-node clusters on Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition. The technology incorporates "any-to-any" failover and cascading failover support to provide greater uptime for critical enterprise resource planning, data mining and e-commerce applications at a lower cost. The solution from IBM includes planning and implementation services and an optional 99.9 percent system uptime guarantee from IBM Global Services.

Finally, Microsoft announced the availability of new planning resources for customers, including best practices information and tools. These include a High Availability Guide that documents important operational practices, a tool called Uptime that allows customers to obtain details on the availability of their Windows NT Server-based system, and several technical white papers focussed on reliability and availability. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

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

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