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Microsoft plans NT software launch

The software giant will deliver an optimized version of its Windows NT Server software for centralized corporate computing on time.

    Microsoft may have trouble sticking to delivery dates for major operating system releases, but the company will deliver an optimized version of its Windows NT Server software for centralized corporate computing on time.

    The announcement of delivery of Windows Terminal Server (WTS), formerly code-named Hydra, at PC Expo in two weeks will formerly launch the software giant's strategy. Microsoft is looking to subvert growth in the network computer market with a version of NT that can provide centralized server-based application delivery to all forms of Windows clients, including the emerging market of Windows terminals.

    Partner Citrix Systems will fill in the missing pieces with add-on technology called MetaFrame that will handle server-based application delivery to other forms of clients, such as NCs and Unix workstations, among others. That technology will ship in conjunction with the delivery of WTS.

    A Microsoft spokesman refused to comment on the delivery of WTS. A final beta program for Windows Terminal Server started in March with executives promising shipment by the end of June.

    Using the WTS version of NT 4.0, a company can host a variety of common desktop applications--like those found in Microsoft Office--on a server, with a client machine basically serving as a window to the program running on the back-end system. In this environment, PCs running the 32-bit Windows 95 or older 16-bit Windows 3.x operating systems can use the computing power of a server.

    The initial version of WTS is essentially a refined take on the Windows NT Server operating system, with Microsoft tweaking the central "kernel" code used as the base for the software. Future versions of WTS will run as an add-on service to Windows NT, starting with the delivery of Windows NT Server 5.0, due early next year.

    No pricing information was immediately available.