Windows NT Server 4.0 -- Microsoft's high-end operating system with a bundled Web server
Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 is one of the leading operating systems in the Internet and intranet worlds. Part of the reason for this popularity is Microsoft's skill in positioning Windows NT Server as a useful corporate solution, with a slew of valuable tools and the ability to standardize on Windows NT Server 4.0 as both a development and deployment platform. The other part of the equation is that overall Windows NT Server 4.0 works pretty well as an Internet platform, especially on a small-scale or departmental intranet level. Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 is one of the leading operating systems in the Internet and intranet worlds. Part of the reason for this popularity is Microsoft's skill in positioning Windows NT Server as a useful corporate solution, with a slew of valuable tools and the ability to standardize on Windows NT Server 4.0 as both a development and deployment platform.
Most of Microsoft's claims regarding Windows NT as a Web server are related directly to Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0, which is bundled as part of the operating system. We won't rehash the many features of IIS, but we will highlight the features found in IIS that tie into the overall operating-system performance:
- IIS is integrated with Windows NT Directory Services, making it easier to develop and integrate Web-based applications.
- ActiveX is the development platform of choice in both IIS and Windows NT, allowing you to combine HTML code, scripts, and reusable ActiveX server components to create Web-based applications. IIS also supports Transactional Active Server Pages (ASP), which link together scripts and components to perform multiple actions.
- IIS integrates with other Microsoft tools: FrontPage, Microsoft Transaction Server, Microsoft Message Queue, Visual InterDev, various back-end tools, and Site Server.
Also included as part of IIS is Crystal Reports, a visual reporting tool for creating presentation-quality reports that can also be integrated into database and Web applications. Note that IIS is not the only leading Web server available for Windows NT Server 4.0. Other leading servers include Apache, Lotus Domino and Netscape Enterprise Server.
Microsoft advertises crash protection for Windows NT, allowing applications to keep running even if other applications go down. While NT does indeed offer more-than-adequate crash protection, it's not the most crash-proof operating system in the PC world -- both FreeBSD and Linux are known for their high level of fault tolerance and their ruggedness when facing situations that would bring down most operating systems. Indeed, there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence to back up these claims, and if you're looking for a truly crash-proof operating system for a mission-critical environment, you may want to look at Linux, FreeBSD, or UNIX instead.