SAN FRANCISCO—Windows Server 2003 is the most significant work Microsoft has ever done in terms of what it means for the IT infrastructure and datacenter, Steve Ballmer, Microsofts CEO, told attendees at the launch of Windows Server 2003 here on Thursday.
“This is a very significant piece of work and the highest quality release of Windows Server ever. It is not just a small, incremental release of the operating system, it is a breakthrough in terms of security, manageability and the innovations it brings to software developers and information workers who need to collaborate,” Ballmer said.
The theme of the product release was “doing more with less,” and Ballmer said this is “absolutely the right time to be bringing new innovation to the marketplace, a view that is shared by our customers. IT managers have to do more with less today, and that is one of the biggest challenges faced by Microsoft and its customers alike.”
This was evidenced by the some 200,000 people attending the global launches of the three products: the Windows Server 2003 family, a new version of Visual Studio .Net and a 64-bit edition of SQL Server 2000, he said.
Microsoft has worked with more than 100 joint development partners on the product, there are already more than 10,000 production deployments, and about 1 million beta copies have been issued, Ballmer said.
Turning to security, Ballmer said that Microsoft “got the message loud and clear from customers that security is the number one priority. Windows Server 2003 is secure by design, and we have invested $200 million in this. It is secure by default, with 60 percent less attack surface area by default compared to Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3. There will also be less security issues going forward,” Ballmer promised.
Windows Server 2003 also improves information worker productivity—by giving access yet protecting information—it gives an enhanced desktop experience and allows far greater team collaboration and communication, Ballmer said.
“Windows SharePoint Team Services will be included in the product going forward and will be made available to all those customers who have bought the new server product. It will allow people to find and share information off the Windows server more easily,” he said.
One Microsoft customer, Honeywell ACS, with 40,000 employees worldwide, wanted a solution to allow the company to collaborate more effectively. It chose SharePoint Team Services to achieve this, Sam Wilson, the technical lead, said in a videotaped interview shown at the launch. Honeywell expects to save $2.7 million through the adoption of the product, company officials said.
Windows Server 2003 also includes a new and innovative feature that allows users who accidentally delete files or content to restore previous versions of these documents directly from their desktops. This feature was demonstrated on stage by Katy Hunter, a Windows Server group product manager, to much audience applause.
There are already more than 12,000 SharePoint Team Services sites within Microsoft on Windows Server 2003. “No-one sets up a file share anymore,” Ballmer said.
Many customers are also looking to migrate off legacy mainframe and Unix systems to Intel-based systems, Ballmer said. “While we still have work to do in this area, weve made huge progress and we have already made it easier for customers to migrate their Unix applications to the Windows-Intel platform,” he said.
Many of the largest enterprises in the world have already turned to Windows Server 2003 to help improve their operations. The London Stock Exchange, the second largest in the world, wanted to grow revenue and provide more products and services to its customers. Seeking to enrich its data and trading systems, it used Windows Server 2003 and Visual Studio .Net to develop and distribute new solutions more rapidly than ever before, exchange officials said in a screened video.
Turning to its relationship with Intel, Ballmer brought Paul Otellini, Intels chief operating officer, on stage. Otellini said Intels relationship with Microsoft had expanded from the desktop and into the server market. While the “server performance crown” part of the market had eluded both companies, this was changing, he said.
Otellini announced that a 32-way, Itanium 2 NEC Solutions Inc. server, the NEC Express5800/1320Xc, running the next-generation Madison chip had given the best non-clustered TPC-C benchmark in the world, a fact that received much applause.
“The interesting thing about our architecture is that we continue to scale. This morning Hewlett-Packard is announcing that they are now number one,” he said, at which point Ballmer did a little victory dance.
HPs Superdome machine, a 64-processor machine with Madison Itanium 2 inside and running Windows Server 2003 and SQWL Server, got the TPC-C up to 558,000. “This is an absolute record machine,” Otellini said.
“There is no machine in the world that can do more database transactions than this machine running Windows. This is the absolute fastest machine running transactions on the planet,” Ballmer said.
Intel plans to release some exciting products over the next 18 months, Otellini said. The Madison chip will go into production mid-year, and the second half of the year will see the launch of a product code-named Deerfield, another member of the Itanium system aimed at lower power systems customized for two-way and workstation environments.
“So we are taking the architecture down, but we dont want to take our eyes off the high-end performance. Over the next 24 months, you will see us bring out another version of the chip with much larger caches and new silicon technology. Beyond that, in 2005, youll see another version of the chip using multiple cores.
“These chips will take the absolute performance up another two to three times where the Superdome machine is today. We also have in development our first billion transistor chip microprocessor that is another member of the Itanium family to come out in a few more years and will move performance up by a factor of ten,” Otellini told the cheering audience.
Ballmer, moving to include the SMB sector as well, said that some two-thirds of servers today are used in small and medium-sized businesses. Microsoft plans to release Windows Small Business Server 2003 in a few months, which will simplify the configuration and connection of remote users and make accessing work computers from home over the Web easier to configure and manage, he said.
“Windows Server 2003 is part of a connected group of Microsoft products that span the IT infrastructure, application infrastructure and information worker infrastructure. We have 220 applications ready to run on the product today, with another 2,500 due over the next 180 days. Some 86,000 partners have been trained on the product so far. Microsoft is on a rock solid foundation of reliability, security and manageability, and we will continue to provide better products and tools with greater security,” he concluded.
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