In September Great Plains, a leading small-to-mid-market provider of back-office
and e-business solutions, announced performance figures showing that its
eEnterprise solution scales considerably better on Microsoft SQL Server
2000 in comparison to Microsoft SQL Server 7.0. SQL Server 2000 is Microsoft's
latest database management system for deploying distributed Windows 2000
applications and is part of Microsoft's .NET platform.
tests of eEnterprise Sales Order Processing (SOP) showed the ability to
process 75,000 sales order items through the system in less than one hour
while only utilizing 45% of the server's capacity. In a Transaction Entry
Test crossing all eEnterprise financial applications, 140,000 financial
transactions were processed in less than one hour with an average response
time of 1.2 seconds. The increased throughput allowed eEnterprise to scale
to 2,400 concurrent users.
is integrated with SQL Server 2000 and the Microsoft .NET Enterprise 2000
Servers to enable organizations to improve decision-making and streamline
business processes. Microsoft's .NET Enterprise Servers are a family of
Microsoft server applications that build, deploy and manage integrated,
web-based solutions. The .NET Platform is built for interoperability using
public Internet standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML).
a leading developer on the Microsoft platform, Great Plains has extensively
collaborated with Microsoft for more than a year on the development of
Microsoft's .NET Framework. Great Plains states it is using Microsoft
.NET Framework in its next generation e-business solutions because of
its increased productivity, reliability, multi-language support and Internet
capabilities. In addition to Great Plains' early work on Windows 2000
Server and SQL Server 2000, Great Plains tests on and plans compatibility
with other .NET Servers such as Biztalk Server and Commerce Server 2000.
This is a main pillar of Great Plains plan to establish itself as an undisputed
global small-to-medium enterprises (SME) market leader. Its focus on Microsoft's
technology, being the preferred technology of smaller enterprises, has
paid exceptionally well in the past. Moreover, Great Plains proudly touts
its commitment to Microsoft's technology by being one of very rare vendors
that has a number of its R&D team members located on the Microsoft campus
and working directly with their Microsoft counterparts. Since Microsoft's
current technology, COM (Component Object Model), has been functionally
stretched out to its maximum, Great Plains' preparatory moves towards
adopting .NET generation of product is not a surprise. The market should
expect most of its competitors to follow suit shortly.
its competitors, particularly the larger ones, will soon deliver similar
product features, possibly more impressive is Great Plains' endeavor (and
proven success) to deliver bulletproof, bug free new generally available
(GA) product releases, based on extensive and stringent product testing.
That has not traditionally been the rule for most Tier 1 and Tier 2 applications
vendors, whose new releases are often bug ridden.
it will be interesting to observe whether or for how long Great Plains
will remain solely a Microsoft shop. The company maintains its content
to remain focused on the smaller enterprises where Microsoft's technology
suffices both functionality and price wise. Nevertheless, having reached
almost $300 million in revenue and having created awareness in a higher-end
of the mid-market, the company may face a need to venture into adoption
of currently more flexible or superior development tools like Java in
order to satisfy more comprehensive requirements of larger mid-sized enterprises
that run in heterogeneous environments.
Users with Great Plains' eEnterprise solution considering moving from
Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 to Microsoft SQL Server 2000 should not hesitate
to do so. However, while the benchmarks on the latest MS platforms are
impressive, users should bear in mind that they have been conducted in
an artificial environment and their outcomes can only be fully understood
after comprehensive comparisons between platforms.
a more general note, expect Microsoft's .NET internet-enabled technologies
to take the next 12-18 months to reach maturity. Also, users should allow
for steep learning curves (as well as associated costs of training) for
its current developers in Microsoft's environments.