Scalability Day may have smacked of a Broadway extravaganza, but the event, sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and industry partner Tandem Computers, among others, marked the official outing of Bill Gates's real objective in financial services: to conquer enterprise computing. With great fanfare, Gates announced that Windows NT, used with Microsoft's Transaction Server 1.0 and SQL Server 6.5 on multi-node-configured Compaq hardware equipped with Intel Pentium Pro Processors, had processed the equivalent of 1.1 billion ATM transactions in a 24-hour period. Such capability is purportedly greater than the combined volume of the five largest banks.

And a few days prior to Scalability Day, Tandem announced that, by using its ServerNet technology linking 64 Intel Pentium Pro processors in a cluster, a Windows NT server-based system could manage a two terabyte database-the equivalent of Dayton-Hudson's data warehouse, which manages retail outlets such as Target and Mervyn's. For financial institutions, such capability would mean that their dependence on costly and oft-times proprietary hardware to run terabyte-sized data warehouses could become a thing of the past.

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