NT 5.0 Beta 2 Features -- More to Come

When Microsoft Corp. released NT 5.0 beta 1, many industry observers were disappointed with the limited new functions it provided, especially compared with the broad feature set promised by Microsoft for NT 5.0. Among the more prominent features missing was an implementation of Active Directory Services and a revised volume management system.

The beta 2 release, which includes code for both Intel and Alpha processors, provides Active Directory Services and Intellimirror capabilities, although early indications are that those services are not yet as mature as promised to be at final release.

Among other new capabilities, beta 2 includes the new volume management capabilities, disk quota enforcement, Plug and Play support, and power management for laptop devices, as well as integrated Microsoft Management Console (MMC) support.

The installation recommendations that accompany the NT 5.0 beta code give users some indication of the resources required by NT 5.0. For the beta 2 release, Microsoft cites minimum configurations for NT Workstation to be a 166-MHz Pentium-compatible processor, 32 MB of memory and 300 MB of disk space. For NT Server, Microsoft specs a 166-MHz processor, 64 MB of memory and 400 MB of disk. The minimum configuration for Alpha systems is an Alpha EV4 200-MHz processor with the latest firmware version installed.

However, even with these minimums, the reality is that most configurations will need far greater resources, especially for NT Server.

Although not part of the beta 2 release, Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition 5.0 will support up to 64 GB of memory for large database applications. This memory model will be available on Compaq Computer Corp.’s Alpha Very Large Memory systems, and on Intel-based machines that use Intel’s Extended Server Memory Architecture. Using a technology included in the Xeon processor called Page Size Extension 36, NT 5.0 can use a 36-bit address bus to reach beyond the 4-GB memory limitation that existing Wintel systems face.