Microsoft reverses course on servers

For years, Microsoft has argued that servers containing only a handful of processors are good enough for most of the world. But now, with the advent of huge Intel machines and the approaching release of a new version of Windows that will run on them, the company is changing its tune.

For heavyweight business computing jobs such as housing a large company's sales transaction database, Microsoft's preferred philosophy has been to share the load among lower-end servers grouped into a "cluster". It's been a tough sell, however, with large corporations sticking with mainframes or Unix servers. But the coming .Net Server 2003 version of the Windows operating system, combined with the faster Intel servers on which it will run, has spurred Microsoft to start talking more seriously about large multiprocessor servers, known in the trade as "big iron."

"Some of the benchmarks out there are really quite phenomenal," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates boasted Sunday during a speech at the Comdex Fall 2002 trade show here. "The number of processors built into systems is now building up to 32 and 64."

Microsoft knew full well that there was a place for big iron, said Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice, but salespeople know to sell the wares they've got in hand.

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News source: ZDNet

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