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What is Windows 2000?

A. Microsoft have renamed NT 5.0 to Windows 2000 in an attempt to simplify the product lines. Below is an extract from the Microsoft press release:

Four products to make up initial Windows 2000 offerings, all "Built on NT Technology".

The company has decided to rename the next release of the Windows NT® line of operating systems—formerly known as Windows NT 5.0—as Windows 2000. Now that millions of people use the Windows NT operating systems every day, Microsoft has decided to rename its next releases to reflect their shift into the mainstream market and to help customers understand the products. All currently released operating systems will retain their names.

The company has also expanded the Windows server line to meet customer demand for solutions that are more powerful than Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition and for lower cost clustering alternatives for branch-office servers.

"Windows NT was first released five years ago as a specialized operating system for technical and business needs. Today it has proven its value as the preferred technology for all users who want industry-leading cost-effectiveness, rich security features and demonstrated scalability," said Jim Allchin, senior vice president at Microsoft. "The Windows NT kernel will be the basis for all of Microsoft's PC operating systems from consumer products to the highest-performance servers."

Click here to view imageThe Windows 2000 line, which Microsoft will begin to roll out in 1999, will include four products. Windows 2000 Professional is a desktop operating system aimed at businesses of all sizes. Microsoft designed Windows 2000 Professional as the easiest Windows yet, with high-level security and significant enhancements for mobile users. The operating system is also designed to provide industrial-strength reliability and help companies lower their total cost of ownership with improved manageability.

Microsoft offers the Windows 2000 Server as the ideal solution for small- to medium-sized enterprise application deployments, web servers, workgroups and branch offices. Windows 2000 Server will support new systems with up to two-way SMP; existing Windows NT Server 4.0 systems with up to four-way SMP can be upgraded to this product.

Windows 2000 Advanced Server is a more powerful departmental and application server that provides network operating system and Internet services. Supporting new systems with up to four-way SMP and large physical memories, this product is ideal for database-intensive work. In addition, Windows 2000 Server integrates clustering and load-balancing support to provide excellent system and application availability. Organizations with existing Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition servers with up to eight-way SMP can install this product.

Click here to view imageThe Windows 2000 line will also include the new Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, which is the most powerful server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports up to 16-way SMP and up to 64GB of physical memory, depending on system architecture. Like Windows 2000 Advanced Server, it provides both clustering and load balancing services as standard features. Microsoft designed this product especially for large data warehouses, econometric analysis, large-scale simulations in science and engineering, online transaction processing and server-consolidation projects.

Microsoft believes its new Windows 2000 name will help both its partners and customers. "The new name also serves our goal of making it simpler for customers to choose the right Windows products for their needs," said Brad Chase, vice president at Microsoft. "The new naming system eliminates customer confusion about whether 'NT' refers to client or server technology. Also, with our across-the-board improvements in ease of use, mobile support and total cost of ownership that provide benefits to so many users, 'NT' technology is no longer just for high-end workstations." Microsoft will use the tagline "Built on NT Technology" to help its customers through the naming transition.

The company believes that the Windows 2000 name and NT tagline will help people to identify which operating system will work best in their environment. And—as the name implies—Windows 2000 is ready for the next millennium.

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