Microsoft this week announced a public beta of its upcoming Application Center 2000 (AppCenter), which will enable administrators to more easily manage and deploy clusters of Windows 2000 servers. AppCenter Beta 2, which should be available in two to four weeks, enhances Windows 2000 with a feature called "software scaling," where capacity is increased by simply expanding the number of cheap off-the-shelf servers. Microsoft says that AppCenter eliminates a single point of failure, and lowers costs and complexity by providing a simple interface for software scaling. With AppCenter, it's possible to create server clusters, add new servers, and deploy and manage distributed applications that don't need to understand the underlying cluster.
"This public beta is a crucial landmark on the road map to .NET,'' says Chris Atkinson, the vice president of the .NET Developer Solutions Group at Microsoft. "The combination of Windows 2000 and Application Center 2000 will enable enterprise-class scalability while significantly reducing the cost and complexity of building and managing high-availability Web infrastructures."
But the power of AppCenter won't come without a price. The product will cost $2,999 per processor when it becomes available sometime late this year. Microsoft says that this pricing is in line with the licensing model that it announced for its .NET products earlier this summer. For more information about AppCenter and to order Beta 2 on CD, please visit the Application Center 2000 Web site