Windows 2000 Server Delivers Five Nines?

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From: Adam Rifkin (
Date: Sat Jan 13 2001 - 05:53:29 PST

Any URL that ends with "reliable/de fault .asp" sounds suspect... :)

How does Microsoft know what level of reliability I need? Have they
been scanning my hard drive again?

What a beautiful little piece of truth-in-advertising: "The Windows 2000
Server Family is the most reliable set of server operating systems
Microsoft has ever produced."

> Windows 2000 Server: Delivering the Level of Reliability You Need
> In the IT industry, server operating system reliability is expressed in
> terms of "nines." For example, 99.99 percent uptime is referred to as
> "four nines" and 99.999 percent uptime is referred to as "five nines."
> Regarded as the highest number realistically achievable, five nines
> equates to less than five minutes downtime per year.
> The developers who built the Windows 2000 Server Family targeted
> 24x7x365 uptime. In business terms, that's what five nines deliver. How
> did they do? Consider the following:
> Today Starbucks, FreeMarkets, and MortgageRamp, an affiliate of GMAC
> Commercial Mortgage, are using Windows 2000 Server-based systems
> designed to deliver 99.999 percent server uptime.
> Industry leaders such as Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Computer
> Group, Unisys, and Stratus can work with you to deliver solutions with
> up to five nines uptime. Of course, not all business operations require
> this level of availability, but one thing is clear from the experiences
> of the companies above: The Windows 2000 Server family can help you get
> the system availability you need.
> And the three offerings in the family -- Windows 2000 Server, Advanced
> Server, and Datacenter Server -- allow you to tailor your investment to
> provide the level of system availability that's appropriate for your
> various business operations, without overbuying for situations that
> don't require maximum uptime.
> Building on "Outstanding" Availability Out of the Box
> For the majority of usage scenarios, 99.99 percent uptime is adequate,
> as this equals less than one hour of downtime per year. The Aberdeen
> Group found that Windows 2000 Servers delivered 99.95 percent uptime
> right out of the box, before the servers were fully optimized for the
> environment, and before the IT staff had gotten up to speed using the
> new operating system. Read the report to see why the Aberdeen Group
> calls this level of availability "outstanding."
> Microsoft treated that level as a baseline. To deliver the ultimate in
> business availability, the company realized that solutions need to
> include highly trained people and top-notch processes, in addition to
> solid technology. So Microsoft created the Datacenter Server Program,
> which can help you achieve 99.999 percent uptime with Windows 2000
> Datacenter Server on qualified systems from Microsoft OEM partners. See
> the FreeMarkets case study for an example of the Datacenter Server Program.
> Analysts and Customers Agree
> In its report on Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, DH Brown Associates
> says, "Windows 2000 clearly takes a major step up in the enterprise food
> chain and now resides legitimately on the same field as UNIX
> competitors. Moreover, the business programs that Microsoft has put in
> place around Windows 2000 Datacenter Server will give broad classes of
> users the confidence to deploy higher-end applications on its platform."
> For another analyst's take, see Giga: "Windows 2000 reliability lives up
> to its billing," which is based on surveys of customers that have moved
> to Windows 2000.
> Technology: Built to Keep Running
> To support customer's needs for up to 99.999 percent business
> availability, Microsoft changed both the operating system and the way it
> was developed. First, the development team designed a development
> process geared to find and eliminate potential failures and operations
> that required rebooting the system. Then the development team analyzed
> nearly 1,200 servers running Windows NT Server 4.0. They learned that 65
> percent of system reboots were due to planned outages for routine
> administrative tasks such as adding hardware and applications.
> Of the unplanned outages, 21 percent were caused by application
> failures, and 14 percent were due to system failures. More than half of
> the system failures were traced to device drivers, anti-virus software,
> and hardware failures. (Note: This finding supports industry studies
> that say as much as 80 percent of system failures can be traced to
> errors caused by people or flawed processes, an issue addressed in the
> People and Processes section below.)
> Among the culprits for systems failures: faulty driver software. So the
> developers conducted tests with anti-virus software and driver software
> developers. To prevent crashes in the future, independent software
> developers and hardware vendors can now test their code using the
> Windows 2000 Driver Verifier tool.
> To help keep systems up and running, Windows 2000 greatly reduces the
> number of maintenance tasks, such as installing hardware and software,
> that require rebooting the computer.
> Other reliability tools include a resource-partitioning feature that
> prevents application failures from forcing reboots, and an improved Task
> Manager that lets administrators kill entire process trees to completely
> shut down a "misbehaving" application.
> Lastly, to reduce the amount of time systems are offline, when a system
> fails or is taken down for maintenance, new boot options let
> administrators quickly restart the system.
> Increasing Levels of Availability
> Many organizations will use a Windows 2000-based server to run
> e-Commerce and customer relationship management solutions to take
> advantage of its extensive support for custom Web and application
> development. These applications can take advantage of the added
> reliability offered by Windows 2000 Advanced Server or Datacenter
> Server. These versions provide clustering and load-balancing
> technologies that allow multiple servers to handle the load of a single
> application. With clustering, if one server fails, another can assume
> the load so the application keeps running. Load balancing allows you to
> distribute network traffic across up to 32 servers to increase
> availability and performance.
> For the most demanding solutions, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server is
> designed for enterprises that need high-end, very reliable hardware and
> software for high-traffic networks and applications.
> Closing the Loop: People and Processes
> For Microsoft, much of the work to improve Windows reliability and
> availability went into improving the operating system software, both to
> reduce causes of failures and eliminate the need to take the system down
> for maintenance tasks. For customers, improving system availability
> starts with the new technology provided by the Windows 2000 Server
> Family of operating systems.
> To get the highest level of availability from any operating system,
> including Windows, requires an IT environment built around sound
> operating guidelines and staffed by well-trained employees. To help
> customers build such an environment, Microsoft and third parties offer a
> collection of training and support programs suitable for the full range
> of businesses, from small one-office companies to distributed global
> enterprises. These programs cover operations training, system support,
> and for best practices guidelines for system design, installation, and
> maintenance.
> How to get Started
> Windows 2000 Server introduces new levels of reliability and
> availability for all your business operations. You can obtain the system
> availability you need in a variety of ways, from simply upgrading your
> existing system to Windows 2000 Server, all the way through obtaining
> maximum system availability with Windows 2000 Datacenter
> Server. Here's how:
> Learn about upgrading an existing server
> Work with Microsoft Certified Partners specializing in reliable server solutions
> Get Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server on a new computer
> Get maximum reliability with Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
> Conclusion
> The Windows 2000 Server Family is the most reliable set of server
> operating systems Microsoft has ever produced. The improvements in
> Windows 2000 mean the systems you need to run your business will be
> available when you need them. Further, Windows 2000 Server, Advanced
> Server, and Datacenter Server provide increasing levels of system
> availability, to let the operating system readily support high-traffic
> Web sites, high-volume transaction processing, and many other demanding
> applications. Customers can choose from this line of products for their
> various operations, investing appropriately to achieve the level of
> system uptime they need for any given task.
> Beyond improvements to the operating system, Microsoft has developed
> training and support resources that help businesses optimize Windows
> systems and the environments in which they are used to ensure maximum
> uptime. To learn more about the improvements in the Windows 2000 Server
> Family and the resources for improved training and processes, see
> "Increasing System Reliability and Availability in Windows 2000."


Your head's so filled with thought you can't use your imagination, Like a sky so filled with stars you can't find a constellation. -- SR-71, "Politically Correct"

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