The 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.
The 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 System
Windows 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.
Windows 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
Customers may also upgrade to a 16 or 32 CPU license as needed. Note that the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server license does not include any Client Access Licenses (CALs) for Windows 2000. These must be purchased separately. Microsoft can make a CAL 5 pack available to the customer through an OEM.
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.
The 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:
This process ensures that all server components are tested together in a high-use environment. In addition, any changes to hardware or system kernel components requires retesting of the server configuration for seven days. An exception to retesting is a change in a hardware storage array or hard disk attached to a datacenter certified host bus adapter (HBA) in a standalone (non-clustered) Datacenter Server.
The Role of Windows Hardware Quality Labs
The 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:
and Server Design FAQ:
Customers who receive servers validated by the Windows Datacenter Program know that they are receiving a complete configuration that has been rigorously tested with all hardware components and kernel-level software products. Windows 2000 Datacenter Server is only available to OEMs that perform extra testing and configuration control and can provide comprehensive customer support programs. The result is a highly reliable and dependable server. OEMs must test the following components to ensure that they work together smoothly on servers running Windows 2000 Datacenter Server:
- 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
Reliable components are the foundation for reliable servers. Consequently, any changes that OEMs make to the server configuration or drivers requires that the change be run through the Windows Datacenter Program tests and resubmitted to WHQL.Note
: Device drivers not covered by the Windows Logo Program are not signed and are not checked for signatures.
Assuring Server Availability: 14-Day Test
To 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 HCL
Server 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.
OEMs 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 Tool
Ensuring 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 Requirements
OEMs 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 Program
The 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.
To be designated as an Microsoft Gold Certified Support Partner for Support Services Datacenter partner, an organization must meet a series of qualifications as a service provider. Those qualifications include:
- 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
A 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 Guarantee
The 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.
Minimum 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.
The 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.
The 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 Queue
The 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.
A 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.
The 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.
Microsoft leads with service delivery through their OEM partners. OEM partners are uniquely positioned to build a business model around the core Datacenter Program-based services. Each OEM offers the core service and additional services in a manner that builds a unique value for that OEM.
Some customers want Microsoft to be the general contractor for their support and services. To accomplish this request, Microsoft Alliance is able to purchase support and service contracts from the respective OEM on behalf of the customer. Microsoft then resells the service to the customer adding in the additional cost for the Microsoft resources, thereby ensuring Microsoft does not compete with the OEM's service offering.
The value and quality of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server lies within the Windows Datacenter Program. The delivery of an integrated operating system, hardware platform, system qualification, and support and services by Microsoft and its OEM partners provides customers with a high-end Windows-based computing solution. The Windows Datacenter Program is designed to change the way people think about the Windows operating system.