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
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
: 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
- Up to 32 gigabytes (GB) of memory support, provided by
Enterprise Memory Architecture on Intel Physical Address Extension
- Up to 32-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).
- Clustering: Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supports 4-node
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
- 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
- A minimum uptime guarantee of 99.9%
- Installation and configuration services
- Availability assessments
- 24 x 7 hardware and software support
- Response service for onsite hardware and software
- 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
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
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
- 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
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.