New server to reinstate IT's 'hero' rating

Microsoft is claiming Virtual Server 2005 will let IT staff look like heroes again.

Touting the new release as the solution that will make migration for NT 4.0 users a seamless reality, the company said Virtual Server 2005 will address the pain of consolidation and migrating legacy applications.

Australia Windows server product manager Michael Leworthy said NT 4.0 users, represent about 15 percent of the Windows installed base in Australia. Users are left with few Microsoft-oriented alternatives, with patches and security updates only available for the NT system until December 31, 2004.

Microsoft discontinued Windows NT 4 Server in October, 2001 and is convinced Windows 2003 Server offers customers enough reasons to migrate off Windows NT 4.0.

Leworthy said the key issue for users of NT 4.0 is understanding whether or not their application will migrate to the new system successfully. Fortunately, according to Leworthy, 90 percent of older applications will.

"NT 4.0 users are now in the challenge period where application servers need to be migrated, but only 8 percent of customer applications will not work on Windows 2003," Leworthy said.

"NT tends to follow a one application-one server model and many organizations today run multiple applications.

"NT4.0 was a great server in 1996-98 but that was when we lived in a single application environment and Web services are a key driver for businesses to migrate."

Virtual Server 2005 allows users to run different operating systems on a single server and allows users to continue to use applications developed for NT4.0 Server.

It also lets users host an operating system in a "mimicked" physical operating environment, allowing an IT staffer to validate and test an application before it is installed on a network.

One driving factor behind Server 2005 being tooled towards increasing the popularity of an IT manager is the Dynamic Systems Initiative, a Microsoft effort to simplify and automate business and operate distributed systems.

Leworthy said the Dynamic Systems Initiative will virtualize a data centre, making an application 'aware' enough to adjust load and resources based on specific needs, bridging a gap in the software and allowing architects to develop operational-aware applications.

Server 2005 will also include a corporate error-reporting application which notes DLL (Dynamic Link Library) or execute feedback to developers to modify the code and is a failsafe mechanism, according to Leworthy.

"Corporate error-reporting is the first step to understanding what people do when things go wrong."

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