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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Nov 20, 2000 (Vol. 5, #54 - Issue #229)
MS Goes Subscription-Based
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • W2K Survival Kits now sold out / the Not Comdex Issue
    • W2K Datacenter Server aims at Unix-based boxes
    • Just DOUBLED my download speed... FREE!
    • Told Ya So: Office 10 will be subscription-based!
    • Gates Shows Transmeta Tablet PC running W2K2 at Comdex
    • New Diskeeper 6.0 Most Powerful Network Defragmenter Ever
    • Another One Is Worming Its Way Through Outlook
    • Squeeze More Speed Out of Older/slower Servers
    • "Double-Take for Windows 2000 Is A Fine Piece Of Work"
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Designing a Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure
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W2K Survival Kits now sold out / the Not Comdex Issue

Hi All,

Well, the 1000 Limited Edition W2K kits are all gone. Can't tell you I didn't warn in advance, deals like this come only once every so often. Thanks everyone that took the opportunity, we have sent practically all orders out last Friday the 17-th. If you do not get yours within 1 week from now, email [email protected]

Since last week was Comdex in Las Vegas, everybody and their brother was sending news from there. Not Me! [grin] I stayed in FL to watch the messy spectacle of democracy slugging it out. I'm sure they will find a resolution in the coming weeks. It's very entertaining to watch. At least the media scrutiny was off Microsoft for a while ;-) At Comdex a whole bunch of wireless gadgets were showcased, but no major OS-related stuff.

If I see any good 'end-of-year' deals I'll send you a W2KnewsFlash.

So, let's have a look at the relevant news items this week.

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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W2K Datacenter Server aims at Unix-based boxes

The last and most significant release of Windows, the Datacenter version is aimed squarely at throwing out Unix from the enterprise. Well, perhaps Dave Cutler will be able to do it with Windows, he did not succeed with VMS. Most of you know that Cutler was the main architect of Digital Equipment's vaunted VMS that is now owned by Compaq. VMS is a rock solid, secure and enterprise class OS that never 'made it big' in the market which is a shame as it is a really good OS.

Now Cutler has his second chance, (and this time the marketing is better) so I expect it to succeed. Obviously the technical merits are also important. W2K Datacenter comes with hardware certification, access to much more memory (64GB), four-node clustering, advanced load balancing and is simply cheaper than high-end commercial-grade Unix-en.

Microsoft has shown us that NT was a good and reliable product, but too many reboots were needed and an ill-behaved driver could bring it down. That was the reason for companies that are looking for high-end boxes with 4 or 5 nines uptime (99,99 or 99,999) are willing to cough up the big bucks. But where do you go when you have no expensive and hard-to-find Unix expertise in the house?

Datacenter may be the answer apart from specialized HA offerings from companies like Marathon and Stratus. A very interesting point is that when MS went for reliability, they looked not only at the software but also at the hardware. They decided to take full control over both. You cannot buy Datacenter through the normal channels, you have to source it through a limited pool of certified vendors. The certification is based on the combination of both hard- and software.

This is great, as the major players like Dell, Compaq, HP IBM and Unisys are now forced to testbed it in-house, meaning customers like you and me are for once sent a whole configuration that works out of the box... guaranteed!

The hardware players are also required to do extra testing, keep the configuration under control, commit to supporting their platform for the life of the W2K Datacenter version plus 18 months, provide services like pre-installation, site configuration, support it together with MS when needed and provide at least a three nines (99,9) uptime guarantee.

Some of you may opt to wait for Intel's 64-bit architecture (code named Itanium) and the 64-bit version of W2K, but the current 32-bit systems will still be here for years to come and the new 4-node clustering makes this a viable option. The usual size of clusters is 4 to 6 nodes anyway, unless you are talking about very large environments.

A last interesting bit of technical info is that Datacenter has something called Windows Sockets Direct Path which for short is called Windows Direct. If you have a Storage Area Network, this new version allows applications that are Winsock 2.0 compliant to bypass the TCP/IP stack and that means faster response times.

The question remains how many of the existing software vendors will write applications and get them certified for the platform. But I'm sure that MS will to a sufficient evangelizing job so this is just a matter of time.

Just DOUBLED my download speed... FREE!

My friend Hubert pinged me with something amazing. A registry tweak that increases broadband download speed big time. At the moment at home I'm running a few different machines. One of these is a Dell Dimension with a Pentium II, 256MB Ram, still on NT 4.0 SP6. I'm hooked up to a roadrunner cable modem.

The registry tweak consists of adding a key in the TCP/IP section that makes the 'RECEIVE WINDOW' 32767 instead of the default which is way too small. So, I ran a simple test. Went to a space-related site and downloaded a 13Mb file called quasar.avi, impressive ani- mation BTW. It's over at:

The download took 90 seconds. Next I created the new registry key, rebooted, went straight to the same site, and downloaded again about 2 minutes later. It's relatively early in the morning so the cable segment I'm on is not busy yet. Guess what happened to my pleasant surprise? Second download came in at 45 seconds instead of 90... WOW! Linden DeCarmo wrote it, way to go Linden! Link at:


Told Ya So: Office 10 will be subscription-based!

Told ya so, told ya so, told ya so. In my issue of Nov 16, 1998(!) I warned that MS was going subscription-based software. Well, the moment is here. Last Monday at Comdex they unveiled their subscription plans for Office 10.

And of course with this they are putting you in the 'pre-soak' for Office.NET that will be web-based and that I expect somewhere in 2002. Your data may reside who knows where, and you'll pay for it monthly or yearly I'm sure. Like I said earlier, MS has a strong incentive to change from the current 'one-shot order' to a recurring revenue stream type model like your phone or electricity bill.

You will be able to get it both as a shrink-wrap and on a 1 year-long contract, but the software will be the same. If at the end of the year the software timebombs, you can choose to renew your subscription or let it lapse. 90 days before that happens though, it becomes nag-ware and you will be able to plug in your credit card number to get it renewed via the 'Net.

I doubt a lot of people are going to let it expire with all their documents in there that you cannot edit anymore. You *will* get 'viewers' though so that you can at least SEE them. But MS is going to open up a hole for the open software movement with this. I can see the headlines now: Is Your Office Expired? FREE Upgrade to LinOffice!

Anyway, they did not announce the cost of it yet which remains a mystery for the moment. Only thing they said was: "a lower initial cost" compared to a shrink-wrap version. All the Office versions (boxed, subscription and the coming .NET) will coexist for years to come so that might become a nice support nightmare in itself.

It's clear that they are testing the waters with this because the ASP model is not proven at all and Office is where they make their big money. And why am I mentioning this? Think about what is going to happen to our OS in a few years from now (or sooner). I'll keep you up to date! Here is the MS release: [HYPE ALERT]

Gates Shows Transmeta Tablet PC running W2K2 at Comdex

But MS called the thing not so much a product design as more a proof of concept. What Bill Gates demonstrated at Comdex was running Whistler, which I nicknamed W2K2. It was not an embedded operating system running out of Read-Only Memory (ROM)--Tablet PCs will have more than sufficient RAM to run a full desktop OS.

You can still run all your normal software on this puppy: Word, Excel and all the rest, but it treats 'ink as ink'. That is, you are able to write on it with a stylus, and your handwriting remains that way (no translation in machine generated characters) but you will be able to edit it, and search on it too. Of course you are going to have wireless connectivity, and it's expected in 2002. Conveniently parallel with W2K2 don't you think? Pretty nifty tool though. I might get one myself.

Here is Bill's speech at Comdex if you could not make it (like me):


New Diskeeper 6.0 Most Powerful Network Defragmenter Ever

I actually had some time to look at this new version. It ROCKS! The newest version of Diskeeper (version 6.0) has been released and is available. PC Data sales figures reveal that YearToDate, Diskeeper has sold 93% of all defragmenters sold to corporations everywhere. And now, this popular performance utility boasts a series of break- throughs that continue to set the standard for the enterprise.

According to independent lab tests by NSTL and others, Diskeeper speeds system performance on WinNT/2000 by as much as 200 percent. But now these performance gains can be achieved in a fraction of the time using a nominal amount of system resources. Advances in the new V6.0's engine and algorithms allows it to defragment a drive 100% to 500% faster than other defragmenters, including the manual utility built into Windows 2000. Diskeeper 6.0 only uses about one third of the memory and one fifth of the CPU resources when compared to other defragmenters.

Perhaps the biggest news about Diskeeper 6.0, however, is Smart Scheduling(tm), an exclusive feature that allows you to go beyond 'fixed schedules' for the network. With Smart Scheduling, DKP 6.0 automatically fine-tunes the frequency of defrag runtimes according to the amount of fragmentation detected on your drives.

This means that without any further system administrator attention, Diskeeper 6.0 will arrive at an ideal defragmentation schedule that always maintains disks in optimum condition. It also saves resources as a result of defragmenting only when needed.

All of DKP's standard "Set It and Forget It" scheduling features are included in Diskeeper 6.0 to give you as a system admin the amount of flexibility and customization you need. Diskeeper 6.0 is also certified for Microsoft Windows 2000. The new V6 is a must- have for your entire Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME network. Check it out at:

Another One Is Worming Its Way Through Outlook

SANS reported on 10 November 2000 that the Navidad worm is spreading through in-boxes in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, and arrives as an attachment to a reply e-mail. If the attachment is opened, an eye icon appears on the desktop in the system tray. Clicking on the eye yields a button accompanied by a message in Spanish, which, if clicked, installs a program that prevents the computer from launching any executable applications. It's not that high risk at the moment as Melissa, but that is caused by a bug in the worm that likely will be fixed by some one so you have to watch out for this one anyway. Here is an article about it at CNN:

And if you want to make sure it does not come in, use something like Mail Essentials:

Squeeze More Speed Out of Older/slower Servers

You have probably heard that AutoPilot now is available for W2K as well as for NT. A recent customer made me aware of the fact that the benchmark is sometimes misleading in the wrong sense of the word. Read the comment and you will understand. Thanks Brent!

"AutoPilot really helped our older/slower server. Although not as obvious with our new faster server it does prevent the CPU intense apps from taking over. The AutoPilot Bench mark program is misleading because it showed that our new server was better without". -- Brent Wenzel

So, if you have older servers with a lot of apps running on them, AutoPilot NT/2000 is definitely a way to prevent an upgrade and get some more life out of those puppies. 30-day eval at:

"Double-Take for Windows 2000 Is A Fine Piece Of Work"

John Shireley is a manager of Web-hosting solutions, and writes articles for Network Computing. It's an objective article by a guy that has no commercial incentive to push it, so I suggest you read the whole thing if you want to prevent downtime.

His conclusion after testing the new version was: "Double-Take 4.01 for Windows 2000 is a fine piece of work. NSI has taken what could have been an overly complicated interface and installation, and packed it into a tidy group of applications".

The article started with: "NSI Software's latest version of Double-Take exceeds its predecessor as an outstanding failover solution in a clustered environment where data and applications are mission-critical. Double-Take 4.01 is intended for customers with extreme high-availability needs. It's made not only to protect file and directory access, but for application integrity as well --even if the hardware or network fails.

"Double-Take does not require a server cluster to function and works just fine with a source and target machine. As such, it can be used to complement virtually any clustered environment, including those from Microsoft and Novell. It's not limited to single-site clustering either; off-site mirroring can be accomplished easily via TCP/IP over almost any link type. And Double-Take now supports Microsoft Windows 2000 in addition to Novell NetWare (4.x and 5.x), Sun Microsystems Solaris and Microsoft Windows NT."

Here is the link to the full article:

And here is the 30-day eval you can download and test.


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Check this article about good Security Hygiene at SearchWin2000
    http://searchwin2000.techtarget.com/searchWin2000_Original_Content_Item/ 0,2009,497249,00.html
  • Interested in the future of Windows.Net? This is a good read:
  • Why the NT-CIP may not fly after all? Here's an article about it:
  • OK, OK, OK, it's not a link but useful anyway. Did you know what this does? CTRL+SHIFT+ESC. Lot faster than right-clicking the taskbar!

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