by November 17, 2001 0 comments



The upcoming upgrade to Windows 2000 Server series has been codenamed Whistler. The development is still in the beta stages, and we got the second Beta of Whistler Advanced Server for review. The main differences between the Whistler Server and Whistler Advanced Server include support for up to eight processors, an Enterprise Memory Architecture that allows you to use more than 4 GB RAM in a machine. This is done using something called PAE x86 (Physical Address Extension). Clustering services have been improved in the Advanced Server, with a simple wizard guiding you in creating server clusters. You can have up to four node clusters in Whistler Advanced Server.

Server configuration is more convenient

As far as installation goes, it’s quite similar to the earlier versions. It ran quite smoothly, and all hardware was automatically recognized. What was eye-catching was the new server configuration wizard that pops up immediately after the installation is complete. This wizard let’s you optimize the Whistler Server for functions you intend to use it for. This list includes some of the most commonly used functions of a server like application server, file server, networking and communications server, Web server, and print server. It also includes two new items, which are the Microsoft SharePoint Server and Streaming Media Server. For instance, if you choose Application Server, then you have the choice of setting up DNS, DHCP, WINS, and Routing and Remote Access Services on the server. This makes server configuration much more convenient than choosing the various components yourself.

Whistler Server now allows you to create trust relationships between forests. This is similar to the trust relationships that used to be setup in Windows NT, only here one can now set them up between forests. This feature is useful for very large companies. It will allow users from one forest to access resources from another forest.

It automatically restarts any Web application that crashes

Another improvement area is the Remote Installation Services in Whistler. This allows you to install OSs on remote clients without having to be physically present at each location. The clients must have a bootable ROM for this to take place. 
Another major feature we found in Whistler is IIS 6.0 (Internet Information Server). This should make Whistler Server an attractive option for companies deploying Web servers. The new IIS has made the HTTP server component into a separate kernel module with its own caching. Another improvement is in how it handles application plug-ins. It automatically restarts any Web application that crashes. It also lets you schedule the starting of second instance for a program, which terminates the first instance when it’s idle. This makes it much more efficient in memory usage. IIS can now be configured by editing an XML configuration file called the Metabase. Better scripting capabilities let you configure the entire IIS through command line. Whistler is also becoming powerful on the command line front, having 34 new command-line tools. You can, for instance, configure IIS from the command line.

The cosmetics

SNAPSHOT

  • Features: Supports up to eight processors, Enhanced Memory Architecture to handle over 4 GB RAM, wizard driven clustering services configuration; Internet Information Server 6.0
  • Contact: Microsoft.
  • Tel: 011-6294600
  • Fax: 6292650. The Great Eastern Centre, 70, Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019.
  • E-mail: poonamk@microsoft.com

Whistler gives you the option of running the desktop environment either in Windows classic or Whistler mode. The latter interface is similar to the one in Windows XP Professional. The new interface is more colorful and the Start menu collates all the items found on a default desktop.

We noticed several enhancements in Whistler’s Windows Explorer. You can now view more items in the same Explorer Window. You can also open your online contacts, or open up Media Player in Explorer. The details view has been made more comprehensive in Windows Explorer. It breaks up all drives accessible by the machine according to their category. So it will list the drive letters or hard drives, devices with removable storage, and network drives in three separate sections, making it more user friendly. Another pleasant change we found was in the search options. When you right click on a particular document you’ve searched, it gives you the option of opening the directory that the file’s located in. This saves time of having to manually go to the particular folder.

One thing we really liked was the well-organized help file in the OS. We found it very easy to search for any kind of task. Overall, the final product appears promising.

Anil Chopra

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