Windows 2000 Conference Starts Up

SAN FRANCISCO -- T minus 2 days until the long-awaited launch of Windows 2000.

Three days of glitz, blaring rock music and product and services announcements begin today as the Windows 2000 Conference and Expo gets underway with events leading up to the formal launch of Windows 2000 by Microsoft Corp. ( chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates on Thursday.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Computer Corp. ( starts the conference this morning with a speech on "Building Competitive Advantage in the Internet Economy." Compaq Computer Corp. ( president and CEO Michael Capellas gives a keynote tonight.

Thursday marks the general retail and OEM availability of Windows 2000 systems. Three versions of Windows 2000 will be available: Windows 2000 Professional, the successor to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation; Windows 2000 Server, the upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 Server; and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, the descendant of Windows NT 4.0 Server, Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft will release a fourth version, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, at least 120 days later than the first three. Datacenter Server is a completely new SKU with support for 64 GB of RAM, 32 processors, and four-node failover clustering.

Windows 2000 is Microsoft’s biggest upgrade to its core 32-bit business operating system since the 1996 launch of Windows NT 4.0. Originally named Windows NT 5.0, the release has been delayed for several years as Microsoft added features and worked to weed out the causes of planned and unplanned downtime with Windows NT. Some of the biggest issues that caused delays for the software maker were the decision to add the Active Directory technology and enhancements to ease the transition from Windows NT 4.0 networks to Windows 2000 networks.

One of the largest contingents among the 116 vendors exhibiting at the show are the consulting firms and system integration firms that expect to get a lot of business helping with the complicated planning involved in implementing the Active Directory in large enterprises. Domain migration, directory planning and network management tools vendors are also out in force. – 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.