Ever since Windows NT® came out a few years ago, business and IT professionals all over have been waiting for the Second Coming of the highly touted Microsoft business operating system (OS). Like they say, good things come to those who “click.”

Built on NT Technology, the Windows 2000 platform delivers the business operating system for the next generation of PC computing. With built-in Web and application services, Internet-standard security, and record-breaking performance at a low cost, it’s the best operating system for doing business on the Internet.

A Version for Everyone

There are four versions of the Windows 2000 platform available, based on target audience:

  • Windows 2000 Professional — business desktops and notebooks.
  • Windows 2000 Server — Intranet and networking.
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server — e-commerce.
  • Windows 2000 DataCenter Server — large data warehouses.

The key to 2000’s success is the new OS’ 64-bit technology offering, recognized as a key milestone within the software industry. The 64-bit Windows 2000 platform will provide high availability, advanced scalability, and large memory support based on the Intel 64-bit chip with its extensive multiprocessing features and powerful floating point arithmetic extensions. It’s designed to address the most demanding business needs of today’s Internet-based world including e-commerce, data mining, online-transaction processing, memory-intensive high-end graphics (e.g., AutoCad, SolidWorks, and ProE), complex mathematics, and high performance multimedia applications. The 64-bit architecture is considered an extension of the Windows 2000 32-bit architecture. Both are available as new releases.

Worth the Wait

Windows 2000 readily scales from one or two servers with a few dozen clients to hundreds of servers and thousands of clients. It’s reliable — PCs and servers running Windows 2000 stay up and running. It lowers cost because it simplifies management of users and computers. And it’s the best operating system for taking advantage of all the latest hardware, right up to the most powerful servers for e-commerce.

Although you can certainly run Windows 2000 on your home computer, it is considered to be overkill. Windows 2000 is aimed at businesses that rely heavily on super-fast interactive environments. Microsoft will be releasing a new consumer-based OS to replace Windows 98 later this year.

Websites: Quick Clicks

I love functional and interactive sites, ones that actually do something besides sit there and stare back at you. The e-commerce site at Air Handling Systems (www.airhand.com) may not be pretty, but there sure is a lot to do there.

Air Handling Systems is a manufacturer of dust and fume collection systems. Their website is a unique and somewhat complete resource for those interested in pollution control. The site contains an online catalog and store, an interactive “Design Your Own Dust Collection System” program, and a learning center for both design and installation of the company’s systems and products. Products sold through the site include hangers, tees, nozzles, doors, and flexhose to name a few. The only downfall is that you will need to download and install a program called Shockwave 7.0 in order run the Dust Collection System Design area of the site.

Overall, the Woodbridge, CT manufacturer has put together a very functional and complete site. As I said earlier, it isn’t pretty, but business never was a beauty contest.

Elsewhere, Hvacommerce.com (www.hvacommerce.com), a division of IES Air Supply, labels itself as the “First HVAC E-commerce Site.” Well, I’m sure the folks over at Greenheck, Metropac, Carrier, and even Air Handling Systems (see above) would disagree, because they have all been performing e-commerce for quite some time now. And how can you do business if you can’t get into the site?

Click one of two links on the home page, and a box appears requesting your “password.” And with no explanation, it seems as though you would have to call to get a password. That’s a big no-no. Visitors can’t even browse a catalog anonymously.

The site’s architecture and layout are not bad. The product offering, however, is mediocre. With a name like theirs, you’d expect thousands of products for sale. IES Air Supply is merely a distributor with a limited inventory, of which there are hundreds nationally. It’s a shame to waste such a great domain name.