N+I: NT 5.0 still far from networking nirvana

Windows NT 5.0 may be far superior to the current version, but it's still far from networking nirvana, according to Microsoft president Steve Ballmer. In a keynote address at NetWorld+Interop, Ballmer said Microsoft still had 'a long way to go' to give the operating system the sort of mainframe-like and Unix-like reliability and manageability users demand.

Windows NT 5.0 may be far superior to the current version, but it's still far from networking nirvana, according to Microsoft president Steve Ballmer.

In a keynote address at NetWorld+Interop, Ballmer said Microsoft still has considerable work to do after it ships NT 5.0 next year to give the operating system the sort of mainframe-like and Unix-like reliability and manageability users increasingly demand.

"I'm going to admit to you that we have a long way to go,'' he said.

Ballmer said NT can stand more improvement in the following main areas: configuration management, availability and reliability, and scalability.

NT 5.0 begins to address these areas through such things as profile-based and centralised management and software distribution and application load balancing.

But it will take several years before PCs can rival mainframes in terms of predicting and then doing something about potential problems, Ballmer said. As an example of the challenge, he cited one Microsoft customer that automatically reboots a particular server every four weeks because otherwise, the server will begin to bog down. Yet neither it nor Microsoft has been able to figure out what exactly is causing the problem.

In addition to such "health monitoring" and better diagnostics, what is also still needed is more sophisticated clustering, batch tools for automating routine network tasks and event management, Ballmer said.

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