Microsoft Expands Clustering Capabilities Of Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 21, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of the Windows NT Load Balancing Service (WLBS), which expands and enhances the scalability and reliability of TCP/IP-based network services and applications hosted on the Windows NT® Server operating system version 4.0 Enterprise Edition.

Customers building mission-critical Web-based solutions, including electronic commerce applications, need cost-effective Web-farm clustering technology based on industry-standard hardware and communications protocols. To support their application requirements, customers want incremental growth, uninterrupted operations and massive scalability – the flexibility and choice to grow with the demands of the business, without rewrites or large cost increases. The Windows NT Load Balancing Service provides the infrastructure to meet these customer requirements in high-volume, mission-critical electronic commerce sites, corporate intranet server farms, streaming media services, virtual private networks (VPNs), and Internet service providers (ISPs).

“Customers are using Windows NT clustering services today to increase the reliability of their internal applications, system services and databases,” said Edmund Muth, group product manager at Microsoft. “With the new load-balancing features, we are extending clustering to Web-centric applications and providing the technology to achieve superior reliability and price performance.”

The Windows NT Load Balancing Service allows customers to cluster their TCP/IP-based network services across up to 32 systems, which then appear as a single logical TCP/IP address space. The fully distributed design of the load-balancing algorithm of WLBS enables administrators to provide reliable services in the face of system maintenance, server upgrades and unplanned downtime. Incremental, cost-effective, nondisruptive growth is another key benefit, as administrators can add Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition nodes to a WLBS cluster while continuing to provide services to customers. Neither specialized hardware interconnects nor application changes are required. WLBS significantly improves throughput and availability of a wide range of services including Microsoft® Internet Information Services (IIS), Windows® streaming media services, VPN solutions, Microsoft Proxy Server and others. WLBS complements the Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS), which is also part of Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition. In fact, when utilized together, these technologies provide a complete end-to-end solution as was demonstrated publicly at Networld+Interop in Atlanta in October 1998.

“Since we deployed this TCP/IP load-balancing technology, we have been extremely pleased with the increase in performance and reliability we have seen in our busiest Web sites, especially and,” said Alex Berlin, vice president of technology at Multex Systems. “Microsoft customers will benefit from the enhancement and integration of the Windows NT Load Balancing Service into the platform.”

Availability is immediate, and rights to use this component are included in new
Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition licenses. Existing Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition

customers are also entitled to this upgrade without cost; they can download it as a system component from (connect-time charges may apply).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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