Multitasking in Windows NT

The multitasking in Windows NT is very much like that of OS/2. The reason for that is very simple: Windows NT started life as OS/2. Back when Microsoft was responsible for creating OS/2 under contract to IBM, Windows NT was being developed as OS/2 3.0. When IBM and Microsoft split up over the relative directions of Windows and OS/2, IBM took over complete responsibility for development of OS/2 2.0, and Microsoft continued to work on what was then being called OS/2 3.0. Later on, as the rift between IBM and Microsoft grew, Microsoft renamed OS/2 3.0 as Windows NT, and IBM began development of its own version of OS/2 3.0, which became OS/2 Warp.

As a result, Windows NT has very good multitasking characteristics. However, there are other reasons why Windows NT does not make a good operating system for many businesses. Windows NT is most suitable for large businesses with some very specific networking and security needs. It requires nearly double the RAM resources of OS/2 to run well and requires significantly more disk space to install.

Windows NT is also slower and less capable than Warp Server as a file and print server. The following excerpts from an IBM press release show why.

PC Week Labs Tests Performance of Leading PC Server Operating Systems

AUSTIN, Texas, April 10, 1996 . . . Results of an independent test conducted by PC Week Labs show that OS/2 Warp Server running on a single processor outperforms both Microsoft Windows NT Server and Novell Netware 4.1 running on four-way SMP- (symmetric- multiprocessing) equipped servers.

“We are very pleased with the results of this test, especially considering the fact that Windows NT was running on a server with four 133MHz Pentium processors and Warp Server was running on a uniprocessor machine,” said Art Olbert, director of product plan management, IBM Personal Software Products. “Our own tests have shown a 14 percent improvement in file and print performance in OS/2 Warp Server Version 4 over LAN Server 4.0. That means we have improved performance for our current customers and we have also beaten the competition.”

According to the tests, OS/2 Warp Server had a peak performance of 56M bps (mega-bits per second), outperforming Windows NT Server by up to 26 percent in file and print services. Windows NT Server performed at a maximum of 44 M bps, while Netware 4.1 placed last. The testing was conducted with Ziff-Davis Benchmark Operation’s newly released NetBench 4.01, with file and print services running on a 100M bps Fast Ethernet network.

“The results of this test are very impressive, but then again, I’ve always been impressed with the performance of IBM’s LAN Server,” said John Robinson, systems manager, South Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation. “And as we roll out the new OS/2 Warp Server, I’ve seen a significant improvement in file and print services.”

To view the complete article printed by PC Week, link to the PCWeek Warp Server Comparison. Note: This page is no longer available.