It's Official: Windows 2000 Arrives - InformationWeek

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It's Official: Windows 2000 Arrives

Microsoft unveiled Windows 2000 today with a sendoff a geek could truly love. Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates stood alongside "Star Trek" television star Patrick Stewart, before a 40-foot-high mockup of a notebook computer on a stage in San Francisco and proclaimed the company's new business operating system ready to roll. "Windows 2000 is the kickoff for a whole new generation of products we're developing," Gates said. With past versions of Windows NT, customers had to choose between Microsoft's low platform cost and variety of suppliers, and Unix systems' performance and reliability. "With Windows 2000, we feel this situation has completely changed," Gates said.

Before today's official release, more than 250 companies have already deployed Windows 2000 Professional, the replacement for Windows 95 and 98 on business desktops; Windows 2000 Server, for running IT infrastructure; and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, for E-commerce applications. Microsoft marshaled 5,000 developers, $2 billion in engineering costs, and 750,000 beta testers to deliver the successor to the 3-1/2-year-old Windows NT 4, Gates said.

Additional products due this year--including Windows 2000 DataCenter Server for high-end databases, Exchange installations, and Web servers; Application Center 2000 for component load-balancing in applications; and the more powerful SQL Server 2000 database--advance Microsoft's argument that enterprise customers can finally trust its software platform for their most important computing needs, Microsoft officials said.

Microsoft disclosed today that SQL Server 2000 running on Windows 2000 for the first time topped the Transaction Processing Council's TPC-C benchmark for performance in a 12-node database cluster, clocking in at more than 227,000 transactions per minute. Microsoft said a second beta release of the new database will arrive in April.

Still, it remains to be seen how quickly Microsoft can chip away at the command Sun Microsystems and other Unix vendors wield over companies running key enterprise systems and Internet applications. "I don't necessarily see [Windows 2000] taking on the high end of Sun and Hewlett-Packard," says Ralph Szygenda, General Motors Corp. CIO and group VP. "But they're going to start nibbling away."

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