This week, Microsoft released Application Center 2000 to manufacturing.
The product provides management, monitoring, and Web-application
load-balancing features, and server clustering to Windows 2000-based
networks. Application Center 2000 is one of the final members of the
NET Enterprise Servers product family; Microsoft first introduced the
suite of servers at a rollout event in September. The company says that
the new product makes managing clusters of Win2K servers as simple as
managing a single machine.
  
"After completing exhaustive testing in the production environments
of our early adopters, Microsoft is proud and excited to release
Application Center 2000," said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of
Microsoft's .NET Enterprise Servers. "This product enables levels of
scalability and availability previously only available in the domain of
big iron. At the same time it delivers enterprise agility through
scaling on demand and unprecedented ease of application deployment and
management."
  
The Application Center 2000 Early Adopter Program consisted of
Web-hosting companies, dot-coms, and traditional enterprises that needed
to increase the manageability and availability of their Web applications
and services. Microsoft worked with these companies during the
Application Center beta to ensure that the product met their needs and
performed to specification. The company resolved any bugs early adopters
reported, often on site.
  
With Application Center 2000, Win2K-based networks can be scaled up
using the so-called software-scaling technique, in which small,
inexpensive servers are simply added to an existing network to increase
availability and capacity without service interruptions. By including
tools that make it simple to manage multiple servers as a single unit,
Microsoft has made it possible for network administrators to bring
servers on- and offline without any perceived change to the end user.
And administrators can automate Win2K server clusters to provide better
service during peak Web traffic. Application Center 2000 will cost about
$3000 per processor.