Windows 2000 Server serves only 51 IP addresses

A bug in Microsoft Windows 2000 prevents it from using more than 51 IP addresses, a major flaw for anyone hoping to use the new operating system for hosting multiple Web sites. The bug, which was originally ignored by Microsoft, was eventually confirmed by a variety of independent labs. It affects Windows 2000 Server-class machines that have been configured as domain controllers: One the 52nd IP address is added, all domain-related activities cease operating properly until the IP is removed, and the machine is incapable of authenticating users or administering the network.

While its conceivable that the number of machines out there that will need to provide Active Directory (AD)-based DNS services and over 51 IP addresses simultaneously is relatively small--Microsoft recommends that large scale, production Web servers not host AD as well--this is an obvious limitation of Windows 2000 and something that will likely cause some of the company's largest customers to look elsewhere. And Web servers aren't the only reason one would need to allocate such a large number of IP addresses from a single Windows 2000 machine: BugNet, which first verified the bug after it was ignored by Microsoft, says that mail servers and Application Service Providers (ASPs) often have the need for this feature.

"Microsoft would not likely produce a hot fix for this, given that none of our customers have reported the issue," a Microsoft spokesperson told BugNet. "If a customer does report this, however, we will take it very seriously." Well, isn't that nice. Despite this comment, expect a hot-fix for this issue in the coming days; it will also be included in Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000.

I'll be interviewing one of the people that discovered this bug sometime this week. Stay tuned

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