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Windows NT
NT's net of users is cast wider and wider--spurred by great hardware and software products to go with it.


Windows NT is finally silencing some of its critics. After a sluggish start, the operating system has picked up steam, and the industry that NT spawned has dramatically matured during the past 18 months.

With each passing week, dozens of new NT applications arrive from diverse companies. On the hardware front, virtually every PC maker has geared up to sell NT servers and, more recently, specialized NT workstations.

During most of 1996, Microsoft focused on improving NT as an Internet server, object server and business desktop. The result was Internet Information Server (IIS) 3.0 and Windows NT 4.0. The latter featured a GUI makeover and support for distributed objects (DCOM)--long desired by software developers.

By the close of 1996 and carrying into 1997, NT sales were skyrocketing. International Data Corp. says annual NT Server shipments doubled last year, with no sign of a slowdown in sight. Roughly 150 companies in the Fortune 500 are standardizing their intranets on NT Server, and dozens of major financial houses are trading their UNIX desktops for Pentium Pro systems running NT Workstation.

NT 5.0, slated to ship early next year, will support advanced power management, Plug and Play, Active Directory services and an object file system. The upgrade has the potential to make NT a true alternative to NetWare 4.x and Novell Directory Services.

Ironically, the NT marketplace will make major strides even before NT 5.0 arrives. By the time you read this, advanced new databases, clustering software and microprocessors will have pushed NT a few steps closer to enterprise computing. The highlights will include Wolfpack, a software offering that will let you cluster two NT servers into a single virtual server for added reliability and--in the long run--scalability. Microsoft and its partners are also enhancing NT for 64-bit computing and next-generation processors from Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Digital.

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Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.