Exchange certified for high-end Windows 2000 system

IT executives trying to evaluate the performance possibilities of Microsoft Corp.'s high-end Windows 2000 DataCenter offering, now have another marquee enterprise application to run on the platform.

Microsoft's Exchange 2000 messaging and collaboration server this week earned its DataCenter certification. Exchange 2000 is one of only five applications that have been certified since Microsoft released DataCenter in September.

The certification means the Enterprise version of Exchange 2000 is optimized to take advantage of DataCenter, which features support for up to 32 processors, 64G bytes of memory and four-node failover clustering.

The certified version of Exchange will be released later this summer with Service Pack 1, which adds support for four-node clustering.

The software should help customers consolidate their messaging servers, though customers shouldn't go too far, says Jim Kobielus, an analyst with The Burton Group. "The DataCenter version provides a lot of power, but there is a danger in putting all your eggs in one basket. It's still a good idea to spread out Exchange servers," he says.

DataCenter is like no other Windows operating system in that it is sold only as a pre-configured package installed on certified hardware that is backed up with a set of professional services.

Just about any application will run on the platform, but certified applications are vigorously tested with the DataCenter hardware.

DataCenter is designed to compete with midrange Unix and minicomputer systems that run mission-critical enterprise applications.

Microsoft is hoping that the delivery of certified applications such as Exchange 2000 will give a boost to DataCenter sales, which have been lagging. Microsoft officials point to the long sales cycle of DataCenter, though the bigger issue might be the paucity of certified applications. SQL Server 2000 is the other big name application certified for DataCenter.

Vendors offering Windows 2000 DataCenter systems are Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Unisys.

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