CHICAGO SEPT. 6, 2001 — When Chicago-based RollingStone.com needed to increase its Web traffic capacity to accommodate its explosive growth, it turned to the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Austin, Texas. There, its own developers worked hand in hand with expert consultants from Microsoft Corp. and several of the industry’s leading hardware and software vendors to develop a world-class Web site that is visited by millions of people every day.
Midwest-based companies need no longer travel that far to get access to the dedicated consulting and enterprise resources of the MTC because Microsoft today announced the opening of its fifth such facility, in Chicago. Local and regional businesses now can stay closer to home as they utilize the center to reduce risk, decrease costs and accelerate the development and deployment of their technology solutions through the sharing of best practices. The Chicago MTC also brings together more than 14 technology leaders, including Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp.
“Leveraging Microsoft’s consulting expertise and the incredible hardware infrastructure at the MTC helped us architect a solution that now allows us to handle more than 1.5 million page views per hour — an increase of more than 300 percent,” said Mark Plunkett, vice president of technology for RollingStone.com. “Not only did we improve our Web site, but the engagement gave us a road map for future improvements and provided valuable hands-on training that we just couldn’t find anywhere else. We are excited that such a useful facility has come to Chicago.”
“The primary mission of the MTCs is to provide both emerging and enterprise companies with the environment and tools they need to design, build and test their technology solutions while reducing their cost, risk and time to market,” said Peter Boit, vice president of e-commerce at Microsoft. “The organizations that have utilized these facilities truly understand the value they offer and point to their importance.”
When another Chicago-based company, H2O Plus, wanted to improve its customers’ online shopping experience, it turned to the Chicago MTC, where Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Plural and Microsoft Consulting Services built a new e-commerce site for h2oplus.com using Microsoft’s powerful Commerce Server 2000.
“By using the center, we saved more than two months of development time and were able to augment Plural’s extensive knowledge with detailed architecture assistance from Microsoft’s consultants,” said Brad Lenhart, director of E-Business at H2O Plus. “Not only did we meet our deadlines and dramatically improve our customers’ online shopping experience, we realized lower development costs than we ever could have imagined.”
One of the most critical benefits the MTC provides is one-stop access to the industry’s leading technology companies. This approach means companies can develop everything from supplier-enablement solutions to corporate portals using the world’s most powerful hardware and software.
Specific MTC offerings include performance tuning, scalability analysis, capacity planning, platform upgrades, advanced Web and Microsoft®
.NET application development, and Solution and Technology Workshops, which feature Microsoft consultants working side by side with an organization’s development staff to share best practices while designing and testing the company’s technology solution. The end result is that the company leaves with trained developers and a reference implementation.
“The key to building any infrastructure is leveraging the expertise of the industry’s leading technology vendors,” said Jim Sauer, vice president of Global and Enterprise Accounts at Dell. “At the MTC, companies have access to Dell’s state-of-the-art PowerEdge servers, PowerVault storage and Precision workstations on which they can configure customized solutions to maximize their performance.”
The Chicago facility includes five development suites, each with five to 10 dual-processor workstations, dedicated racks of servers, a private local area network (LAN) and 24-hour secure access. The server room features more than 110 high-end application servers, 350 processors and nearly 20 terabytes of storage capacity provided by Compaq, Dell and XIOtech Corp. Compaq also is providing a mobile environment in which customers develop and test solutions.
“Compaq’s investment in the MTC shows how firmly we believe in Chicago as a hub for e-business,” said Bill Weaver, vice president of U.S. sales at Compaq. “For nearly two decades, Compaq and Microsoft have been working together to drive industry standards through development, testing and preparation. The MTC brings to Chicago an environment where area businesses can engage in highly collaborative engineering while sharing deep technical knowledge.”
In addition to Compaq and Dell, other MTC alliance members include American Power Conversion Corp., Data Return Corp., CAST, CCC Network Systems, Epicenter Inc., Exodus Communications Inc., Intel Corp., Peakstone Corp., Rainbow Technologies Inc., Spirian Technologies Inc., Visual Insights and XIOtech Corp.
About Microsoft Technology Centers
Microsoft Technology Centers are state-of-the-art facilities that provide emerging and enterprise businesses with a development environment designed from the ground up to accelerate the design, development, testing and deployment of the .NET Enterprise Servers, .NET Framework and XML Web services. MTCs are staffed with expert consultants and offer customers hardware, software and services from Microsoft and more than a dozen industry leaders. The fifth and newest MTC, located at 77 W. Wacker Drive in Chicago, serves leading companies throughout the Midwest. MTCs are also located in Austin, Boston, Silicon Valley and Toronto. Additional information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/business/services/mtc.asp .
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.
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