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.

If that's the case, industry experts say, the question then becomes, should banks be seriously considering Windows NT as platform for their enterprises? With Tandem in it's corner, Microsoft can make faster inroads. "Tandem has the installed base in the financial and banking communities, which is helpful to Microsoft in bringing NT to the enterprise in (that) industry," says IDC Corp. analyst Doug Chandler.

In a larger sense, however, Chandler is quick to point out that Tandem immediately benefits more greatly from its partnership with Microsoft. "NT is something that nearly every company with any sizable services business is turning to for revenues to provide services around. Tandem is just another one of those." H.Sraeel

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