Windows server products are best known for volume sales in small to midsized server markets, but some of the company's recent gains in higher-end markets have gone unheralded. The Windows 2000 Datacenter Program, which Microsoft ushered in 7 months after Win2K's release in February 2000, has been gaining acceptance with companies that want to consolidate Win2K and Windows NT 4.0 servers but also want to retain the ability to scale up in the future.

Datacenter success stories were hard to come by a year ago. But as the first half of 2002 came to a close, customer migrations to Win2K Datacenter Server had ramped up significantly. The Datacenter Program now has hundreds of customers, most of whom have joined up for Datacenter's consolidation, uptime, and reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) capabilities. With an increasing number of 16-way Windows server hardware choices, Datacenter acceptance will likely grow further this year.

"We've seen huge momentum with Datacenter Server over the last 6 months," Bob Ellsworth, the group product manager for Microsoft's Windows .NET Server Product Management Group, told me recently. "In early 2002, we launched Windows Datacenter Server Limited Edition \[LE\], which is focused on the highest levels of scalability. Datacenter LE adds improvements to memory management, lock management, transaction capabilities, and scaling." Microsoft designed Datacenter LE for limited audiences and won't make the product available for systems with fewer than 16 processors, Ellsworth said.