Windows NT Server 4.0 -- Microsoft's high-end operating system with a bundled Web server Page 2

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 12, 1999

Java Support, Closed Architecture, Security
Java is supported in Windows NT Server through Microsoft's Java 1.1 Virtual Machine. Currently there are two Java virtual machines vying for server and application-server usage -- the Microsoft Java VM and the Sun VM. At this point, you'll need to choose between the two for practical reasons: there are differences between them, and unless you want to maintain two code libraries (leading to all sorts of small inconsistencies and incompatibilities), you will need to commit to one VM or the other. While we're not saying which way to go -- we have yet to encounter a benchmark that "proves" one VM is faster than the other -- we are pointing out that it's impractical to use both.

In addition, Microsoft's insistence that COM be preferred over CORBA will lead to some hard decisions when mapping an enterprise-level computing scheme. In general, the UNIX world has standardized on CORBA, while Microsoft has steadfastly supported COM. At the present, you'll need to support one or the other, which could be a significant issue on the enterprise level.

This leads us to one of our strongest criticisms of Windows NT Server: the incessant and confining linkage of the operating system with Microsoft products. Yes, we know that this is how capitalism works, and Microsoft leverages its offerings better than most companies in the computer world. However, the fact that Microsoft offers a relatively closed operating system at a time when open-source software is gaining in popularity should be a consideration when evaluating Windows NT, especially when you're looking at the financial pros and cons. On an ongoing basis, Windows NT is one of the most expensive operating systems for the PC platform.

Windows NT Server 4.0 supports virtual domains and the ability to delegate administration to other users. In terms of management, there's a Windows-based management console, browser-based administration, and command-line scripting.

In terms of security, Windows NT Server 4.0 features user authorization via username and password, as configured by the system administrator, and auditing capabilities that meet C2 auditing guidelines. Permissions can be granted to the user level. In addition, Windows NT Server 4.0 includes an integrated certificate server for issuing X.509 digital certificates, which can be mapped to user accounts. Additionally, 128-bit encryption is supported.

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