Get Ready for “Smooth Scaling” – Microsoft Application Center 2000 Released to Manufacturers

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 12, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release to manufacturing of Microsoft® Application Center 2000, the deployment and management tool for applications built on the Windows® 2000 operating system that significantly eases software scaling. A key member of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server family, Application Center 2000 provides a suite of tools designed to enable management, monitoring and load balancing of Web applications, and significantly simplifies the deployment of new applications over clusters of servers. Managing application clusters is now as easy as managing a single machine.

“After completing exhaustive testing in the production environments of our early adopters, Microsoft is proud and excited to release Application Center 2000,”
said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the .NET Enterprise Servers at Microsoft.
“This product enables levels of scalability and availability previously only available in the domain of big iron. At the same time it delivers enterprise agility through scaling on demand and unprecedented ease of application deployment and management.”

Customers Are Leading the Way

Members of the Application Center 2000 early adopter program are already using the product to manage live production clusters of Web and application servers. Those enterprise customers include Web-hosters, dot-coms and traditional businesses that share the need to increase application manageability and availability. Microsoft worked closely with those customers to ensure that deployment and management issues associated with software scaling were resolved.

“Application Center 2000 simply makes scaling out with the Windows platform more efficient,”
said Jason A. Lochhead, CTO of Data Return Corp.
“We have been using Application Center with our extranet site,, for quite some time, and it has greatly simplified cluster management and application deployment. We anticipate the same great results for customers that include Application Center in their deployment with Data Return, all with a significant reduction in total cost of ownership.”

“The Windows platform provides the scalability and performance we need,”
said David Mosher, vice president of technology at Embark.

Application Center 2000 rounds out our solution, adding manageability and monitoring to our enterprise class operations. It just makes sense: By scaling out our Web server tier, we manage without a single point of failure and keep our application running 24×7. Our customers have access to us at all times.”

Setting Scale for the Future

Software scaling is the future for companies running mission-critical Web applications. Web sites need to be able handle massive amounts of Web hits and page views without interruption, and they must be able to add capacity as the demand for them grows. Software scaling introduces a new approach: Increase capacity by adding servers to the cluster rather than obtaining larger servers. Since the requests are being distributed across several servers instead of just one, any of the servers may be taken offline and its requests will be handled by one of the other servers, thus eliminating any single points of failure. Software scaling delivers on both goals: scalability and availability.

But software scaling was formerly a difficult, time-consuming and expensive process because users were forced to add servers and configure data to them manually. Application Center 2000 was developed with this customer problem squarely in focus: Automate deployment and integrate the tools that customers need so that managing the cluster is as easy as managing a single machine. The result: Customers get the scalability and availability of software scaling without compromising manageability.

Furthermore, by automating the scaling process, Application Center 2000 enables customers to respond to sudden increases in Web traffic quickly and easily. Application Center automates the process of expanding application clusters, meaning that customers can quickly increase capacity.

“The increasingly complex e-business initiatives being undertaken by our enterprise clients require sophisticated clustering to enable a highly fault-tolerant architecture,”
said Bobby Patrick, vice president of strategy at Digex Corp.
“With Application Center 2000, we are able to scale out our Web clusters and replicate content over them in minutes rather than hours, enabling us to more efficiently meet the demands of any customer and assure high levels of performance and availability.”

Fast Facts on Application Center 2000

Application Center 2000 provides a suite of deployment, management, monitoring and diagnostic tools. Some of the product features include these:

  • Single application image. A single definition for each Web-based or component-based application can be created that lists the contents, components and configuration settings. That definition can be used to simplify management and deployment tasks.

  • Application load balancing. The application load can be distributed across the cluster, using the simplified and centralized management of Network Load Balancing and Component Load Balancing for improved performance.

  • Fault tolerance. Software and hardware failures can be withstood at any point in the system without disrupting application service.

  • Application staging and deployment. Entire applications can be duplicated from one server to another. This feature can be used, for example, to accurately promote applications through the software life cycle: development, testing, staging and production.

  • Application synchronization. Application content, configuration and components can be kept synchronized across all the computers in the server cluster.

  • Real-time performance and health monitoring. Performance and event log data for a server or group of servers can be viewed, all from a single console. System administrators have the tools to proactively improve system availability and performance.

The suggested retail price for Application Center 2000 is $2,999 per processor.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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