Microsoft Corporation opened its TechEd conference Friday, showing off a wide range of support for its upcoming Windows 2000 operating system. Companies such as IBM, Intel, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Seagate Software, Siemens, Sterling Software, Veritas and others displayed such Windows 2000 solutions clustering support and large memory support that help the upcoming OS scale to greater heights and satisfy the needs of more customers. Microsoft's Brian Valentine provided an overview of Windows 2000 at Friday's opening keynote address.
"I'm going to talk a little bit about Windows 2000, and what we're doing beyond Windows 2000. Can you imagine that? We're actually talking about beyond Windows 2000 now, so we must be getting close to shipping, which is a good sign," Valentine said to applause. "We are building Windows 2000 first and foremost for businesses and enterprises, so don't be confused...\[and\] we're still on track to ship in \[1999\]."
Valentine walked through a number of the features of Windows 2000, including device driver verification and driver signing, system file protection, multiple server clustering technology with cascading fail-over support, Active Directory, IntelliMirror, and the new slipstreaming feature of service packs, where bug fixes can be melded into the base OS install share; future installations will automatically include all of the bug fixes without a separate install. The company has deployed Windows 2000 on its own internal servers already and Valentine has made a personal commitment to get Microsoft executives using the new system as well.
"So we've got a policy in place that's only going to give you bug fixes, and guess what, when you get a service pack, if you have a server install location on a server sharer somewhere, you can slipstream under that service pack and have one install tree, one setup program that will install those service packs and the software for you all in one step."
One of the most exciting parts of Valentine's talk centered on mobile features in Windows 2000. For mobile users, Microsoft has created a no-power state for laptops that will power down a system with running applications, save its state to the hard drive and then restore itself within seconds, with every application still running properly--even after weeks of downtime. This will prevent the need to boot the laptop every time you turn it on and dramatically change the way users work with their systems.
"So when I'm sitting on the airplane and I've got that spreadsheet up and I've got that e-mail client up, and I'm doing all that stuff, and the stewardess walks by and says...'we're going below 10,000 feet, you'd better shut that machine down,' all I've got to do is close the lid, my entire state is saved. I don't have to stop any apps or whatever. When I get in the airport, 15 seconds later, boom, I'm running again."
And a comprehensive Offline Folders feature replaces the little-used "My Briefcase" from previous versions of Windows. Folders on a network can be cached locally so that users can still access the files they contain when disconnected from the network. And file synchronization can be automatic, using simple configuration options, allowing files to be properly copied to and from the network when a physical connection is made.
If you're interested in Windows 2000, Brian Valentine's full speech is a good read and it's available now