Microsoft and Compaq cool clustering commitment

Lindsay Clark

The future scalability of Windows has been questioned after the abandonment of a project to include high-end technology...

Lindsay Clark

The future scalability of Windows has been questioned after the abandonment of a project to include high-end technology from Compaq's Tandem servers in the Microsoft OS.

In September 1998, Compaq and Microsoft ann-ounced that mainframe technology such as Tandem clustering transactional and recovery services, would be included in future Microsoft Windows releases. At the time, Paul Maritz, group vice president, said, "This important initiative combines the COM programming model, 'non-stop' clustering and advance enterprise capabilities of Compaq to create a next-generation operating environment."

But Laurent Blanchard, director of enterprise services and solution with Compaq told Computer Weekly last week that the project had been abandoned. Compaq would focus on developing its own Tru64 Unix OS and Tandem products.

Rob Hailstone, research director at Bloor Research said the failure of the project would put Microsoft behind in scaling Windows to the extent of mainframe or Unix systems.

"You would not dream of running a large database on NT," he said. "One thing Microsoft lacks is clustering technology. Compaq has this technology and it's likely it doesn't want to share it."

Dan Kusnetzky, program director of operating environments at IDC, said Micorsoft was backing away from its commitment to high end clustering.

"Microsofthasattempted to quietly disassociate itself from a promise. But people buy systems based on such promises," said Kuznetzky.

Microsoft attempts to achieve levels of high scalability using multiple servers to carry out different functions such as Web servers, application servers and file and print using its proprietary COM+ model.

Though the hardware and software purchase price of such system may be less than Unix or mainframe systems, the overall cost could be higher because of the complex support required, Kusnetzky said.

Rick Becker, director of software marketing at Compaq said the two companies continue to work together on Windows scalability.

Microsoft refused to comment on the abandonment of this project.

He said that proprietary technology from the likes of Unisys was creating 32 processor Windows systems, together with middleware from companies such as BEA. However, Windows could not support 100,000 people accessing an application from around the world the way mainframe systems can.

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