Microsoft, Unisys, EMC Demo W2K Data Center

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft Corp. has been chanting that Windows 2000 will be more scalable than Windows NT 4.0. Here at Comdex Fall ‘99, along with Unisys Corp. and EMC Corp. (, the companies demonstrated a data center based on Windows 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 that was designed to prove Redmond’s claim.

Executives billed the demo, which will be sold as a solution, as designed for e-commerce infrastructures, Internet start-ups, and brick-and-mortar companies that plan to open up shop on the Web.

In a white paper, Wayne Kernochan, senior vice president at The Aberdeen Group Inc. (, says the Unisys-Microsoft solution will be useful for scaling up current NT implementations, for providing data centers for midsize and large organizations that do not require Unix or mainframes, and for building e-commerce applications.

The companies, along with eight partners, built the data center with 52 Unisys ES5000 servers, consisting of a conglomeration of four-way and eight-way machines. Twelve of the servers were used to generate the transactions of the fake customers to used in the demonstration. Essentially 40 servers are necessary in this solution.

Of the 52 servers, two were running a beta of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, both of which were eight-way machines. The Datacenter boxes were running the Terminal Services within Windows 2000 to generate traffic from 300 concurrent users.

The other 50 servers were running the most recent build of Windows 2000 Advanced Server as of Comdex.

According to Ed Muth, the Windows 2000 enterprise marketing group manager at Microsoft, the entire solution, including OLTP, could have run exactly as it did without the use of Datacenter Server. Unisys wanted the product included to demonstrate that it works.

Aberdeen’s report states that the solution is composed of three subarchitectures for three applications: OLTP, business intelligence, and directory services.

The OLTP facet uses 20 four-way servers feeding six eight-way COM+ boxes and two eight-way systems running a 2 TB SQL Server 7.0 database on EMC storage.

EMC’s storage provided includes six Symmetrix Enterprise Storage systems, EMC Connectrix Enterprise Storage Network system, EDM, and EMC TimeFinder software. The total storage capacity of the solution is 43 TB.

Mike Ruettgers, president and CEO of EMC, says the companies expect prospective customers to ask if 43 TB of storage is overkill.

"EMC has a number of dot-com companies that have more than 43 TB of storage today," he says.

The OLTP architecture is designed to provide a shopping-cart Web application, which Aberdeen’s Kernochan says is based on industry benchmarks.

The business intelligence layer simulates queries on a 9-TB EMC storage database fed by replicated OLTP shopping-cart data.

For the Active Directory layer, Unisys demonstrated a 50-million object Active Directory residing on 300 GB of disk and running on a single four-way server.

The data center solution also includes a 9-TB data warehouse, which is capable of 4,000 transaction per minute and can handle 3 billion hits a day. The warehouse also can backup data at 1.2 TB an hour.

According to Larry Weinbach, CEO of Unisys, the latest research done by his company indicates that the largest e-commerce sites currently run about 55 million transactions per day. Weinbach says that in five days at Comdex, this solution handled 30 times the e-business transactions that occurred during all of 1998’s 44-day holiday shopping season.

The companies say the solution as it was demonstrated is capable of 99.99 percent uptime, based on Unisys ES5000 servers.

The data center had run for about one month before the companies took it apart and moved it to Comdex. During that month only one blue screen of death was reported. It was the result of a faulty device driver.

Weinbach says Unisys will enhance its product line with the ES7000 server, a 32-way CMP system, in the first quarter of 2000. With this release, Weinbach expects the availability of this data center solution to reach 99.9998 percent. Although using 16- or 32-way hardware under a single version of Windows 2000 will require Datacenter Server, Unisys will make the ES7000 partitionable into subsystems that run individual Intel-based operating systems.

The executives declined to comment on specific pricing models for this solution, but Weinbach predicts customers will pay one-fifth to one-third of the cost for a similar solution based on Unix/RISC machines. The partners emphasized that while the demonstration showed a high-end configuration, the modular nature of the solution permits companies to start with a few servers and expand to match the growth of its online business.

Other partners involved in the solution include: Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Giganet Inc. (, Imation Corp. (, Mercury Interactive Corp. (, NetIQ Corp. (, Storage Technology Corp. (, and QLogic Corp. (