Microsoft to release new NT 4 this year and split NT into three versions

Microsoft will split Windows NT into three versions after NT 5.0 is released next year. A high-end version of NT 6.0 will be written entirely in 64-bit code that will run on Intel's Merced CPU and will allow the OS to compete with the largest mainframes and date-warehouses. The mid-level version of NT will be a natural upgrade for current NT Server and Workstation 4.0/5.0 users and will cater to the business user. A low-end, consumer version of NT will provide an upgrade path to users of Windows 95/Memphis. This consumer version will have "friendlier" security "because you don't want a child to access and wipe out your files." If you were wondering what the upgrade path after Memphis was, you have your answer.

All three versions will use the same kernel, according to Moshe T. Dunie, vice president of Microsoft's Windows Operating Systems Division. "PC-based servers will be getting into the mainframe space with the 64-bit OS," he said. The high-end version of Windows NT will include such features as hierarchical storage management, volume management, and disaster recovery, according to Dunie.

"Disaster recovery doesn't just mean copying the data. It means the ability to restore and run massive amounts of data effectively," Dunie said. "For a long time, people said the mainframe is going away; it didn't. But with this OS and \[Intel's Merced\], it may \[finally\] be true."

Microsoft has some plans for NT this year as well. Before NT 5.0 ships, the company will ship a small-business version of NT 4.0 this year. The project is code-named "SAM" and it will include modem pooling, fax-server features, and a proxy server that will connect a small network to the Internet with one phone line and a single IP address. Microsoft will also add improved symmetrical multiprocessing to NT 5.0, due in 1998. Currently, NT 4.0 scales well to four processors: NT 5.0 will scale to eight

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