HP backs Windows 2000 Datacenter

Hewlett-Packard Co. added its voice Tuesday to those of other major computer vendors announcing support for Microsoft Corp.’s first attack on the information centre – Windows 2000 Datacenter Server operating system.

As of now, HP’s 8-way NetServer LXr 8500DC will support the new Microsoft OS, while a 32-way NetServer system running Windows 2000 Datacenter is due to appear at the start of 2001, according to Rich Archuleta, vice-president and general manager of HP’s network server division. The 32-way system will support a maximum of 32 Intel Corp. Pentium III Xeon CPUs (central processing units), up to 64G bytes of RAM (random access memory), 96 PCI (peripheral component interconnect) slots and hardware partitioning.

Other HP products also offering support for Windows 2000 Datacenter are the vendor’s SureStore E Disk Array XP256 for shared storage and the company’s OpenView systems management software.

HP, like its peers, is additionally including a range of services designed to make the software more attractive to users. The computer vendor expects a gradual slow user adoption curve for Windows 2000 Datacenter, Archuleta said.

“Windows 2000 Datacenter is a brand-new operating system that takes Windows into a very different space, one that is more business-focused and uptime-focused,” Archuleta said. Over the first year, HP expects to sell a relatively low volume of the new Microsoft enterprise OS, as a lot of customers pilot the operating system and start to get used to it, then sales should ramp up considerably in the software’s second year, he added.

HP was to join Microsoft CEO and president Steve Ballmer Tuesday afternoon at the software vendor’s Enterprise 2000 launch, where Windows 2000 Datacenter will be on show along with upcoming Microsoft applications such as its SQL Server 2000 database and its Exchange 2000 groupware. Also at the event were to be other computer companies, including Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp. and Unisys Corp.

Microsoft released Windows 2000 Datacenter Server to manufacturing last month. The OS is only available from certified Datacenter partners such as Compaq, Dell, HP and Unisys, all of which plan to offer the software with a range of services.

For instance, HP will offer three different Windows 2000 Datacenter support and service packages, Archuleta said. Two of them will be aimed at product deployment – Foundation and Critical Systems – the latter will include additional features designed to provide higher levels of availability and uptime, he added. The third offering, the Pilot Kit, aims to walk customers through the new OS.