Microsoft Cranks Up Support Plans for Datacenter Server

SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft Corp. expanded its hardware-testing and vendor-support requirements for systems that will run Windows 2000 Datacenter Server in an effort to ensure the reliability of its highest-end operating system.

The Windows Datacenter Program will involve hardware and software support from Microsoft and participating hardware vendors. Microsoft and the vendors will staff a joint Microsoft Certified Support Center for Datacenter (MCSC for Datacenter) that will serve as a single point of contact for customers using Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

The announcement came today during the Windows 2000 Conference and Expo, where Microsoft is launching Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server. Microsoft says Windows 2000 Datacenter Server will ship sometime this summer. The Windows Datacenter Program will be available on shipment of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.

Microsoft previously had indicated it would create a special hardware compatibility list for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. (see related ENT story). Sometimes identified in Microsoft literature as the gold HCL, Microsoft promised that the Datacenter HCL would be a more rigorously tested subset of the HCL for the other versions of Windows 2000. The new Windows Datacenter Program expands on the certification by testing entire systems rather than components for compatibility.

Other new requirements include a minimum uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent, installation and configuration services, availability assessment, 24X7 hardware and software support via a joint support team, and onsite hardware and software services.

Participants include all four major high-volume server OEMs: Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and IBM Corp. High-end equipment makers committed to the arrangement include Amdahl Corp., Data General, EMC, Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., NEC Corp., Stratus Computer Inc., and Unisys Corp, which has the only greater-than-eight-way system currently available.

The Unisys e-@ction ES7000 supports up to 32 processors. NEC has announced plans to roll out a 16-processor server to coincide with 64-bit Windows.

Windows 2000 Datacenter Server will support 32 processors, 64 GB of memory, four-node cascading failover, system area networks, and all features included in Windows 2000 Advanced Server. – Scott Bekker

Keep your browser pointed to ENT (, a sponsor of the Windows 2000 Conference and Expo, for complete coverage from the show floor.

About the Author

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