Microsoft’s Datacenter Server Beta 2 Feature Complete

Microsoft Corp. recently issued the second beta of its high-end Datacenter Server. The pending operating system will ship to OEM partners, who then will distribute it to customers.

"Beta 2 is feature complete at this point," says Michel Gambier, group product manager of enterprise server marketing at Microsoft (

New to the second beta is a process control manager that lets administrators assign workloads to particular processors within a server. This feature helps avoid the bottleneck of two or more workloads aiming for the same processor.

Gambier also touts the Configuration Check Utility. This lets users check the configuration of a system against a written file to ensure that customers have configured their systems exactly the way the box was certified.

Gambier says Microsoft did not remove any features from Beta 2 that were in previous versions, and the company does not plan to drop any features between now and the final release.

The beta process for Datacenter Server has been different than that of Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server, since all overlapping features are already completed.

The testing procedure is also slightly different. Microsoft is requiring OEMs to test Beta 2 with the configurations that will be sent out to customers before making the operating system available to them.

Datacenter Server is being tested at fewer beta sites. Previous editions of Windows 2000 were tested at upwards of 500,000 sites, but the first Datacenter beta went to 300 customers. Beta 2 is expected to also be tested by hundreds of sites, but the actual number will be determined by the OEMs.

Microsoft’s objectives for Beta 2 are to not only test the software, but also test the surrounding elements, such as the Windows Datacenter Server Program, a joint-support program between Microsoft and its OEM partners announced in February.

The Windows Datacenter Program includes a hardware platform validation process and a hardware test, as well as a new service program. These services include high-availability guarantees, installation and change-management control, and a joint support queue, where support calls are handled jointly by the server hardware vendors and Microsoft.

Microsoft plans to issue a release candidate of Datacenter Server following this beta phase.

Microsoft’s entrant into the high-end server world will support 64 GB of RAM, four-node clustering, and up to 32 processors. Recent reports, however, suggest support for 32-way processing will not be complete when the final version ships, and neither will 32-way hardware.

Datacenter Server was originally scheduled to ship 90 to 120 days after the Windows 2000 launch. Microsoft extended that estimated timeframe back to the full 120 days around the time it released the other three versions. Now, Gambier says the final release date won’t be in June, but Microsoft is confident it will be a summer release.

"It’s Windows 2000, so it’s not like the whole OS is new," Gambier says.