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Unisys, Microsoft Demo 32-way Datacenter

Windows has rapidly climbed from desktop applications to file and print servers to Fortune 500 Web servers, yet administrators have been reluctant to deploy Windows for massive databases or solving complex math problems. However, Microsoft Corp. and Unisys Corp. have demonstrated a 32-processor machine running Windows 2000 Datacenter, suggesting the new flavor of Windows 2000 is appropriate for these high end applications.

Reports circulated that Datacenter Beta 1 was unable to scale beyond 16 processors, making large symmetric multiprocessing systems (SMP) the exclusive domain of Linux and other Unix based operating systems. By demonstrating Windows 2000 Datacenter on a 32-way Unisys (www.unisys.com) machine, Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) is able to claim entry into the extreme high end of Intel platform computing.

The demo featured travel software developed by ITA Software (www.itasoftware.com) for Amadeus Global Travel Distribution (www.amadeus.net) used for searching for low fares. The software searches for connections and fares between airports, developing strings of lowest cost flights. Solving topology problems like these has historically been reserved for "big iron" machines.

In February, Microsoft and Unisys demonstrated Datacenter on a 16-way machine at the Windows 2000 Conference and Expo. The February demo also featured the ITA/Amadeus travel software. Today’s 32-way demo is able to complete twice as many transactions in a day as the 16-way demo, suggesting that Windows 2000 Datacenter doubles in performance with a doubling in processors, or scales linearly. - Christopher McConnell

About the Author

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

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