Windows 2000 features many enhancements that make it a better database platform than Windows NT 4.0. It's no accident that SQL Server achieved its highest Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) TPC-C benchmark scores running on Win2K. Here are Win2K's seven most important improvements from a SQL Server perspective.

7. Active Directory


SQL Server 2000 can store in Win2K's Active Directory (AD) information about available SQL Server systems and databases. This capability lets you locate remote SQL Server systems without preregistering them. AD stores information such as the names and locations of SQL Server systems as well as database names and descriptions.

6. Kerberos Security


SQL Server 2000 can use Win2K's new Kerberos security and delegation capabilities to securely pass client requests to remote servers. Kerberos provides much stronger user authentication than NT LAN Manager (NTLM). Using Kerberos, the server doesn't need to use a domain controller (DC) to authenticate a client. Instead, the server directly authenticates the client by examining credentials that the client presents.

5. Improved Hardware Support


A vast improvement over NT's "plug-and-pray" support, Win2K's Plug and Play (PnP) support lets you easily add new hardware to the system. Win2K also supports the latest generation of hardware, including Intelligent Input/Output (I2O) hardware, which uses a dedicated processor with its own storage to offload I/O processing from the system CPU, and Virtual Interface (VI) Architecture network adapters for 1GHz networking speeds.

4. Higher Availability


With Win2K, Microsoft eliminated the system reboot requirement for the top 45 hardware and software configuration and maintenance functions. For utmost reliability, Win2K Datacenter Server increases the total number of failover nodes from two to four. In addition, Win2K clusters support rolling upgrades, letting you take one server node in a cluster offline for an upgrade without affecting the cluster.

3. Improved Scalability


Win2K Advanced Server and Datacenter dramatically boost the number of SMP processors and maximum available memory that Win2K supports. Win2K AS supports up to eight processors in an SMP system and, using Physical Address Extensions (PAEs), can support up to 8GB of memory. Datacenter supports 32-processor SMP systems and a maximum physical memory of 64GB.

2. Better Network Throughput


Win2K uses an optimized TCP/IP stack to take better advantage of high-bandwidth networks. The new TCP/IP stack includes large window support, allowing for dynamic calculation of the TCP/IP window size as you put more data packets on the network.

1. Faster App Performance


Core Win2K improvements that reduce the instruction path let Win2K provide better application performance than NT can. In SAP benchmarks, Win2K AS processed 100,000 more line items per hour than NT. In addition, Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 supports scriptless Active Server Pages (ASP) and server-side request redirection, enabling better Web server performance.