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Microsoft, Intel, Sungard Demo 64-bit Wintel Box

NEW YORK -- Microsoft Corp.'s scaling strategy was given credence by a demonstration of complex financial software running on a Windows 2000/Itanium box. Microsoft, Intel Corp. (www.intel.com), and Sungard Data Systems Inc. demonstrated Sungard’s Panorama financial risk management software on a 64-bit Windows machine at a luncheon here.

"There’s proof of both vendors scaling up," says Ed Muth, director of business development at Microsoft (www.microsoft.com). The use of a Wintel box for high end financial applications represents the companies’ entry into a market previously reserved for "Big Iron" Unix machines.

Microsoft draws a distinction between "scaling out," using a number of redundant boxes or processors to increase availability or stability - a web farm is an example of scaling out - and "scaling up" using more processors to extend the raw power of the platform. Panorama, an computation intensive multi-user application, provides a demonstration of the "scaling up" strategy.

"What this means for users is they can take scalability off the table as far as an issue," says Muth. Muth reasons that if a Wintel machine can handle the stress of a complex, multiuser application, a Wintel machine can be used in any situation.

Why would users choose a Wintel box over a tried and true Unix machine? The companies describe Unix systems as "Islands of Automation" - while Unix machines perform well for the applications, their relationships with the rest of the computing environment can be tricky. "Technologies that could be very disruptive can be integrated seamlessly," Muth says, referring to the interoperability of Datacenter machines with other Windows 2000 systems.

Sungard (www.sungard.com) has created software for the NT platform since 1996, but has renewed enthusiasm with the entrance of 64-bit Datacenter. "It is clearly a good platform and it is the platform for the future," says Till Guldimann, senior vice president of Strategy at Sungard.

"It’s an application many careers are based on," says Mack Gill, director of alliance programs at Sungard. Users are risking their careers by choosing Wintel machines over big iron, he says. - Christopher McConnell

About the Author

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

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