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Friday 9th May 2003

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Microsoft updates its server

Last week saw the launch of Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, the latest version of its high-end server software designed to do all the things a good server should, with enhanced speed and security over previous editions and improved ability to run applications developed with the .Net framework. Microsoft claims the wider range of programming languages available for .Net and its sophisticated development environment more than compensate for any inconvenience that might follow from being obliged to run on its proprietary server platform. Windows Server 2003 is available in three versions. Since launch day Microsoft has dropped most of its prices by about 10% to reflect the relatively strong New Zealand dollar: Standard Edition, with five client licences, for $2814.70 including GST; Enterprise Edition, with 25 client licences, for $10,800.10 including GST; and Datacenter Edition ­ price on application.

HP gets with the program

Hot on the heels of Microsoft's new server, HP has announced it has just the hardware to run it on ­ according to Jeff Healey of HP's enterprise systems group, "HP and Microsoft continue to lead the advance of 'standards-based' computing," with products ranging from ProLiant blade and eight-way servers to Itanium-based systems. "Standards-based," as distinct from open source, presumably. HP also says it can deploy the greatest number of Microsoft-trained consultants to help deploy Windows Server-based solutions and has 64-bit hardware available to run Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000.

Intel says 'me too'

Not to be left out of the fun, Intel has declared its CPUs in conjunction with Windows Server 2003 can provide exceptional performance ­ pointing in particular to the world's highest-ever single-system transaction processing performance, achieved on an HP server with an Intel Itanium 2 processor. Intel says its chip outperformed a 128-processor Risc system on the TPC-C database processing benchmark; however, the processor involved will not be generally available until later this year.

Foundry launches terabit architecture

Foundry Networks' BigIron MG8 switch and the NetIron 40G metro router are claimed to be able to deliver wire-speed performance with 10-Gigabit ethernet (10GbE) density, which it says is ideal for companies requiring high-speed connectivity between clusters of computers such as universities, research institutions and service providers. The hardware uses a new architecture and a newly developed high-speed chipset to achieve terabit speeds. Foundry Networks regional distribution is handled from Sydney.

Quicksilver offers faster dialup

Quicksilver Internet (www.quicksilver.co.nz) claims its new Slipstream technology allows users to enjoy faster internet speeds without an additional hardware or line modifications. The Windows-only system, based on Canadian-developed data compression technology, is said to give effective speeds up to three times as fast as a normal dialup connection. Slipstream will be offered to Quicksilver's existing customers for an additional $10 a month. User reports overseas suggest the technology does offer some improvement but not on files that have already been heavily compressed, such Zip archives, jpegs and mpegs. ­

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