Microsoft Offers Enterprises .NET Alternative to “Big Iron”

LOS ANGELES, March 14, 2001 — Today at Spring Internet World, Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of Microsoft® Application Center 2000, its deployment and management tool for businesses that are
“scaling out”
their Web applications. Scaling out uses clusters of standard servers instead of a single, monolithic
“big-iron”
server. Using Application Center 2000, enterprises are already enjoying the higher availability and greater scalability benefits of a scaled-out architecture while managing the servers with the ease and cost-effectiveness of managing a single server .

“Web-based applications have different requirements and act differently than traditional applications,”
said Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of System Software Research at International Data Corp.

It is not acceptable for them to appear to either slow down or become unavailable. A reliable and available Web-based application means less work for administrators and both a measurable savings and successful implementation to CEOs. Scaling out is a proven way to fulfill organizations’ requirements for 99.999 percent uptime for their Web-based applications.”

“As we move toward the Microsoft .NET vision and a Web services economy, scaling out becomes increasingly important for the scalability and availability of global-class applications,”
said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of .NET Enterprise Servers at Microsoft.
“Application Center 2000 provides the manageability to scale out solutions, tipping the balance away from big-iron servers and making this new architecture the best alternative for today’s Web applications and tomorrow’s Web services.”

Reliability, Availability and On-Demand Scalability

Many companies, such as Data Return Corp., Digex Corp. and Embark.com, have looked for an alternative to the big-iron servers to run their Web applications. According to them, the big-iron solution creates a single point of failure, does not scale easily and is very expensive. Using standard hardware, a scale-out architecture and Application Center 2000, they now have a better alternative.

Embark.com, a leading provider of Internet infrastructure solutions to a network of learning institutions, students and businesses, selected Application Center because it provided the ideal deployment and management tool for high-availability Web applications.
“Application Center will help us manage our systems more efficiently, leading to increased availability and reduced administrative and overhead costs,”
said David Mosher, vice president of technology at Embark.
“Its comprehensive replication, monitoring and management functionality will contribute to an enhanced user experience by improving the reliability and consistency of our Web site.”

“The increasingly complex e-business initiatives being undertaken by our enterprise clients require sophisticated clustering to enable a highly fault-tolerant architecture,”
said Martha Gilbertson, vice president of Product Management at Digex.
“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 ensure high levels of performance and availability.”

“Customers are increasingly turning to Dell for rack-optimized PowerEdge servers and to tap our expertise for building their Web infrastructures,”
said Jack Angelo, vice president of Enterprise Software Development at Dell Enterprise Systems Group.
“The application management and deployment features of Application Center 2000 combined with the expansion and reliability features of PowerEdge servers will help Dell customers build and grow their infrastructures while maintaining high levels of performance and availability.”

“Flexibility is everything for us,”
said James Talkington, vice president of technology at Lifecast.com, an online club-hosting service with over 1,000 lifestyle-oriented clubs.
“We must be able to scale on demand and have a rapid process for adding functionality. Using Application Center 2000, we expect to get our product to market faster and with greater reliability, thereby improving customer service and driving new business.”

In addition, third-party vendors are creating solutions that can further enhance the abilities of the platform.
“Peakstone eAssurance integrated with Microsoft Application Center 2000 provides customers with a ‘capacity-on-demand’ solution that automatically adds server capacity where it is needed, when it is needed, to meet real-time traffic demand and address infrastructure failures,”
said T.M. Ravi, founder and CEO of Peakstone.
“The solution provides real-time scalability of the Web application infrastructure, while meeting service-quality objectives, optimizing infrastructure cost and minimizing operational risk.”

Return on Investment

Scale-out is more than an option to some companies; it is a core part of their business. Application Center 2000 and the efficiencies it provides can mean real revenue to those companies.

“The potential for increased revenues, combined with incremental cost savings through improved efficiencies, clearly outweighs the costs associated with deploying Application Center 2000 for our clients,”
said Rob Stovall, vice president of financial planning for Data Return Corp. Most well known for providing the infrastructure and support for the e-commerce catalog behind Victoria’s Secret
“runway”
streaming media webcast, Data Return specializes in delivering high-availability managed hosting services.

Even customers who do not host their applications themselves agree that efficiencies can mean real revenue to the company.
“We anticipate being able to update, manage and monitor content more efficiently with Application Center 2000. This will enable us to expand the frequency of our online newsletter from weekly to daily, thereby potentially increasing online revenue simply due to more rapid content replication,”
said Alan Cohn, director for IT Operations at InformIT, an online resource center and a managed hosting customer of Data Return that delivers premium IT content and access to industry experts.
“The happier our customers are, the more business they will bring our way.”

About Application Center

Microsoft’s tool for managing Web applications built on Windows® 2000, Application Center 2000 enables virtually 100 percent uptime of mission-critical applications while reducing the ongoing operational cost and complexity associated with software scaling. Scaling out achieves high-end scalability through Web clusters (a k a Web farms) and software rather than bulky, expensive big-iron servers. Customers get improved application availability by distributing requests over an array of servers, thus removing single points of failure.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) 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.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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