When Microsoft Corporation released the Professional, Server, and Advanced Server editions of Windows 2000 this February, the company promised that its high-end "Unix-killer," DataCenter Server, would ship in June. But recent comments by the company suggest that this date may now be a bit optimistic and that the release of Windows 2000 DataCenter Server will probably slip later into the summer. It's not a critical problem by any stretch of the imagination, but Microsoft's continued inability to hit launch dates is beginning to wear on the enterprise customers that have been waiting for new versions of Exchange Server, SQL Server, and other products for quite some time. But DataCenter Server is the crown jewel of the Windows line, an operating system release that will finally give Microsoft a much-needed challenger in the high-end space: Microsoft is wise to ensure that this release is ready before it leaves Redmond.
The company plans to ship the final beta version of Windows 2000 DataCenter Server, Beta 2, later this month. "Beta 2 is solid and coming out soon, " says Michel Gambier, the Group Product Manager of Enterprise Server Marketing at Microsoft. "Our plan is to go from Beta 2 to release candidate then ship. \[The release date\] may slip, but a summer timetable is comfortable."
DataCenter Server will not be sold at retail like other editions of Windows 2000 and it will work with only a subset of the hardware on the traditional Windows 2000 Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), so that Microsoft can ensure that the product delivers the reliability and stability that its high-end customers require. DataCenter Server targets businesses that have traditionally turned to Unix, such as large Internet Service Providers (ISPs), offering massive scaling possibilities with support for up to 32 processors, 64 GB of RAM, four-node clustering, and 32-node network load balancing. And DataCenter Server will be shipped with the code for Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1), which was recently released publicly in beta form. SP1 is still on track for a June release, according to sources