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Scalability Page 2

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5qIt’s been almost traditional to say that Windows NT is easier to use than other operating systems; however, it does not scale. Windows 2000 Servers does scale, or at least it will when the final member of the family, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, appears sometime in mid-2000.

Product CPUs Memory Users Price
Server 4 2GB $2,995
Advanced Server 8 8GB 100-500 $4,995
Datacenter Server 32 64GB 500-1,000 (not set)

Also lurking in the wings is Microsoft AppCenter, a heavy-duty load-managing server (component dynamic load balancing) and services system that will give Windows 2000 the capability to balance up to four application servers. For installations working at the high-volume end of computing, particularly transaction and Web services, Microsoft will have a scalable suite of products to rival anyone, and often costing less.


There are many performance enhancements in Windows 2000 Server, most of which relate to greater scalability of processors. A good deal of code optimizing has also been done so that most testing (including ours) shows an improvement of 10% to 20% over NT. This does not make Windows 2000 a speed demon; however, real performance benefits appear in Advanced Server and Datacenter with multiple processors working in concert with multiple servers.

Reliability and Security

To talk about the reliability of an operating system at its launch is usually premature. Given the long beta testing cycle of Windows 2000 and the large number of installations, however, its reliability (or lack thereof) has been under intensive observation for quite a while. Microsoft has paid considerable attention to reliability features. Our favorite occurred when we deliberately removed the driver file for the installed network card and rebooted. Windows 2000 Server detected the missing driver and re-installed it automatically, leaving only a message about the problem in the event log.

Does Windows 2000 really have 63,000 bugs (as the widely rumored number derived from an internal Microsoft memo said)? No. Is Windows 2000 Server perfectly stable? No. The majority of beta test sites have reported few or no general problems, although difficulty with specific hardware (and some software) is not uncommon. There are weaknesses — no surprise — especially involving integration with new technologies such as Active Directory. Current experience, however, suggests that Windows 2000 is more reliable than its predecessor.

Windows 2000 can also be made considerably more secure than its NT predecessor, provided Active Directory is used. The main change is the addition of Kerberos security, allowing a single log-on to be used for authentication of a user to multiple servers. For the Internet there is now support of IPSec, SSL, and TSL. The Encrypted File Service (EFS) can be used to designate specific files for encryption and can be set to require a key before a user can access them. Windows 2000 security options are accurately described as dense, and it will take a while for an administrator to learn how to use them (wisely).

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