Microsoft partners reveal Win 2000 exploits

Confident it has nearly nailed down final code for Windows 2000, Microsoft is setting out to prove the worth of the OS, with the help of partners in its Joint Development Programme.

With Microsoft confident it has nearly nailed down final code for Windows 2000, the company is now setting out to prove the operating system's worth.

Microsoft got help this week from partners in the Joint Development Programme (JDP). These partners used Comdex/ Fall '99 to begin detailing their exploits with the operating system, which is due to ship Feb. 17. Microsoft shipped Release Candidate 3 of the beta last week, which, barring disaster, should be the last one before final release.

The experiences of Microsoft's JDP partners are likely to give IT executives clues into the strengths and weaknesses of Win 2000 and Active Directory.

Prudential Insurance, a JDP partner, is running about 500,000 objects in Active Directory as part of a pilot for policy management of 12,000 laptops that agents use in the field.

"We are confident we can go to a million objects," says Laura Gashlin, systems director for emerging technologies at Prudential Insurance in Newark, New Jersey. "Right now, the directory is running very well."

But Gashlin adds it took 15 months to achieve that result.

"This is not a two-month project. Active Directory has been very complex," says Gashlin, who plans to err on the side of caution when her deployment goes live. "We will start with parallel environments, Active Directory and multiple NT domains."

Compaq, a close Microsoft ally and JDP member, demonstrated at Comdex its testing of Active Directory by loading some 110 million objects into the directory. Using the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol import utility, Compaq loaded phone book data at a rate of 1,000 entries per second. Directory reads were between 4,000 and 5,000 per second on an eight-way Xeon machine. The data also was being replicated over a 25-mile link.

"In terms of scale, we think even the largest companies will be pressed to reach 10 million objects," says Jeff Dunkelberger, a senior consultant in Compaq's professional services division.

In contrast, Novell, which made its own directory splash at the show by uncoupling Novell Directory Services (NDS) from NetWare and offering it natively on NT and Solaris, can hold more than one billion objects in NDS.

"Will someone put a billion objects in the directory tomorrow? No. But we need to take the fear of limits off the table as companies start to use the directory to do business with partners across the Internet," says Samm DiStasio, a Novell marketing executive.

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