IntroductionThe Windows Datacenter Program complements the Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server operating system. This program is designed to provide customers with an integrated hardware, software, and service offering, that is delivered by Microsoft and OEMs that are qualified server vendors. The program is specifically designed to address the demanding requirements of enterprise customers and includes scalable hardware, joint support teams with server vendors for single-point-of-contact support, and rigorous system testing and qualification focused on the entire system. The Windows Datacenter Program also includes coordinated maintenance and change control for hardware and software updates.
The Windows Datacenter Program is the integration of an operating system product, OEM partnerships, and service offerings to provide customers a high-end computing solution. The key customer scenarios for the Datacenter Program include large non-partitionable databases, server consolidation, and massive file and print servers.
Platform: HardwareThe Windows Datacenter Program requires that a computer support at least 8 physical Intel Architecture-32 (IA-32) central processing units (CPUs). A server may have less than 8 CPUs, but it must be capable of expanding to at least 8 CPUs as the customer needs or requirements increase. An example of an 8-CPU capable computer would be computers that are built around the Profusion chip set.
Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports up to 32 IA-32 CPUs. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server also supports hardware partitioning, and this gives a customer the ability to run multiple instances of the operating system within the same physical server. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server has fault-tolerant hardware solutions that are available through Microsoft-certified OEMS. Note that fault-tolerant hardware is only required to have at least 8 CPUs within the hardware solution. Also, the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server operating system and service packs are provided to customers by OEMs on media that is BIOS-locked to that specific OEM's hardware platform.
Note: Although Datacenter Server supports hardware partitioning, Datacenter does not support changing the partition configuration during operation. Although there are hardware platforms that support such dynamic partitioning, this feature cannot be used with Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.
Platform: Operating SystemWindows 2000 Datacenter Server is a 32-bit operating system that is based on the Windows 2000 operating system and Service Pack 1 (SP1). Some key software features that are not included in Windows 2000 Advanced Server are:
- Up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of memory support, provided by Enterprise Memory Architecture on Intel Physical Address Extension (PAE)-capable computers.
- Up to 32-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).
- Clustering: Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports 4-node clustering.
- Process Control: This allows you to control the resources that are allocated to programs. With Process Control, you can specify the maximum memory use of a program or service, program priority, program processor affinity, and various other limits to help ensure stable system and program operations.
- Winsock Direct: This enables programs that use Winsock to perform faster processing with less overhead, when communicating across a system area network (SAN). Winsock Direct streamlines communications between distributed components on computers that are running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server if a SAN is in place.
License ModelWindows 2000 Datacenter Server is available to customers only through qualified OEMs. Windows Datacenter Server is licensed based on the number of CPUs that exist within the hardware platform. Microsoft is licensing the product to OEMs in the three following packages:
- up to 8 CPUs
- up to 16 CPUs
- up to 32 CPUs
In addition to the software licenses that are listed earlier in this article, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server has updateable subscriptions that are available from an OEM. The update subscriptions provide the customer access to version releases, supplements, and service packs for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. The update subscription is available on a yearly basis, and a customer must renew it yearly with an OEM to obtain the benefits of the subscription. A customer may choose not to purchase the update subscription, but then the customer does not receive access to version releases, supplements, or service packs. Customers have the opportunity to pay previous subscription dues if they do not purchase the update subscription initially, but choose to subscribe at a later time.
QualificationThe Windows Datacenter Program has been developed to provide customers with a list of qualified servers that have been thoroughly tested and proven to be highly reliable. The Windows Datacenter Program provides a qualification process that is designed to extend the current hardware compatibility requirements from Microsoft. To get more information about this, see the following Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) Web site:
The Role of Windows Hardware Quality LabsThe Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) ensures that OEMs produce quality hardware and software that interacts efficiently and optimally with Microsoft products. OEM products must pass the appropriate Hardware Compatibility Test (HCT). If successful, they are placed on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), and receive the "Designed for Windows" logo. The Windows logo on hardware products ensures the product meets Microsoft standards for compatibility with Windows operating systems. Hardware intended for use with Windows 2000 Datacenter Server must be designed to the specifications of the Hardware Design Guide Version 2.0 for Microsoft Windows NT(R) Server and the companion:
- All hardware components
- All hardware drivers
- All programs that work at the kernel level, including antivirus programs, disk and tape management, backup programs, and similar types of programs
Note: Device drivers not covered by the Windows Logo Program are not signed and are not checked for signatures.
Assuring Server Availability: 14-Day TestTo be placed on the HCL, Windows Datacenter Program servers in the Windows Datacenter Program must be tested over an extended period. Microsoft requires participating vendors to set up servers running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and successfully run the Windows Datacenter Program tests. Vendors must successfully pass a 14-day test period during which servers running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server must meet or exceed 99.9 percent scheduled availability.
The Windows 2000 Datacenter Server HCLServer platforms compliant with the Windows Datacenter Program are listed on the HCL in the same way that Microsoft lists Windows NT-based servers or Windows NT-based cluster servers. The Windows Datacenter Program is new, and does not replace, but rather complements, existing logo or HCL listings. Given the more stringent qualifications of the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server HCL, any hardware approved automatically qualifies for the Windows 2000 Server HCL as well.
Third-Party ComponentsOEMs often integrate third-party adapters, utilities, or other components with their servers. This is an acceptable practice within the framework of the Windows Datacenter Program. The OEM is responsible for integrating and testing the third-party components prior to submitting the entire configuration for Datacenter HCL qualification.
Configuration Verification ToolEnsuring that the initial configuration and kernel drivers remain intact is a key part of this program. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server is distributed with a file that reflects the server configuration including BIOS and hardware component firmware revision levels. The configuration-checking tool detects any changes to the original tested configuration and displays a message detailing the differences. NOTE: Configuration changes do not affect the setup or loading of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.
Ongoing Program RequirementsOEMs are required to maintain configurations that conform to the requirements of the Windows Datacenter Program. Vendors must resubmit their configurations for validation any time they install a service pack or new version of the operating system. When updated versions of vendor-supplied drivers are released, the OEM must make an updated configuration file available to the customer. Further, under the program, OEMs are required to support their platforms for the life of the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server version. Translated this means support is provided until the next version is released plus eighteen months.
Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter ProgramThe Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services is designed to help Windows 2000 Datacenter partners provide an integrated hardware and software service offering that is delivered jointly with Microsoft. The Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter Program is an extension of the base Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services program. An OEM must first meet the base Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services requirements, and then Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter requirements, to sell Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.
The Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter Program gives partners access to the Microsoft resources they need to help customers achieve high levels of availability, and establishes a unique level of cooperation in delivering support for critical business systems. The Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter Program provides a comprehensive suite of services to help partners and Microsoft jointly deliver the service offerings that are needed for high-end environments using Windows 2000 Datacenter, including:
- Skills development and readiness services, such as advanced new product training; access to internships and special partner development programs at Microsoft; a partner-level knowledge base of known issues and resolution; early notification of critical problems and fixes; and, regular technical bulletins of support information.
- Software support services, including a joint team of Microsoft and partner support professionals to provide a single point of contact for customers; rapid escalation of critical or complex issues to Microsoft development for fixes; tools for managing hotfixes; and, onsite critical problem support for customers.
- A source code license to help in the diagnosis and isolation of a problem.
- Business development services, including brand marketing, targeted joint marketing, customer satisfaction measurement, and participation in ongoing service development.
- Account management services, including a dedicated account manager, annual business planning assistance, and ongoing advocacy activities within Microsoft.
- Quality: consistent achievement of target customer satisfaction levels for support services provided to end customers and ongoing quality analysis and improvement methodologies.
- Staffing and certification: requirements for the number of full-time professionals that support Microsoft products and Microsoft certifications.
- Escalation: maximum rates for escalation of non-bug incidents to Microsoft and the ability to share support cases across partner and Microsoft tracking systems.
- Problem replication environments: lab and replication environments capable of reproducing all Datacenter HCL systems for troubleshooting customer problems and testing software patches.
- IHV/ISV Escalation Path: 24 x 7 access to an escalation path to debug resources and symbols files for all products certified as a part of the Datacenter system.
- Service offerings: the capability to provide service components including:
- A minimum uptime guarantee of 99.9% availability
- Installation and configuration services
- Availability assessments
- 24 x 7 hardware and software support
- Response service for onsite hardware and software support.
- Change management service
Core ServicesA Datacenter OEM partner must offer the following services to customers, however the delivery of the service may differ, because the OEMs choose different implementation models. Microsoft may be involved in the delivery of many of these services, however it is Microsoft's intention for our Datacenter OEM partners to build attractive business models around these core services.
Minimum 99.9% Uptime GuaranteeThe Datacenter OEM must offer a service that guarantees system availability at the operating system level of 99.9% uptime to the customer. Clustered environments can be used to increased system uptime.
InstallationMinimum requirements of the installation service are to install the Datacenter operating system--including all hardware and software components, booting Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, and confirm that the Datacenter HCL configuration file matches the current installation exactly. This insures that the customer begins their Windows 2000 Datacenter Server experience with a properly-qualified system configuration.
Availability AssessmentThe Availability Assessment Service is an evaluation of the Datacenter customer's environment, support capabilities, and processes to assist in the stability of the overall system and installation. Minimally this should include evaluating physical environmental conditions, change control process gap identification, capacity planning, back-up and restore procedures, and fault tolerance and disaster recovery strategies and processes.
Onsite ResponsivenessThe Onsite Responsiveness service is the capability, either with company employees or through sub-contracted services, to be onsite at any Datacenter Server customer location. Dispatched personnel do not need to be MCSE certified, but should be able to assist Joint Support Queue engineers with troubleshooting and data collection.
Joint Support QueueThe Joint Support Queue will be staffed with both OEM and Microsoft personnel to ensure tight collaboration between the hardware and operating system vendors. The Joint Queue will have access to all OEM Datacenter HCL hardware configurations for problem reproduction and isolation.
Change ControlA change control service must be offered to customers. The change control service is a process to ensure coordinated delivery of hardware and software updates as a single re-qualified system Datacenter HCL system. The change control service must provide a way for a customer to move update their system from one Datacenter HCL qualified configuration to the next on a periodic basis.
Reliability MeasurementsThe combination of qualified of Datacenter HCL platforms and Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter services makes Windows 2000 Datacenter Server the most reliable Windows-based product ever. To accurately assess the quality of the Windows Datacenter Program, the OEMs are required to report the following items:
- Reliability Measurements: Each OEM agrees to measure customers' Datacenter-based systems, as allowed by their customers, with the Event Log Analyzer (ELA) Tool to record reliability data. Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services must then provide the reliability data, in an agreed-upon format, to Microsoft on a quarterly basis.
- Blue Screens: The number of customer reported blue screens must be reported quarterly to Microsoft.
- Crash Dumps: Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services agrees to provide, as allowed by their customers, a copy of each crash dump file for analysis within 7 days of the actual occurrence of the blue screen.