|Differences Between Windows NT Workstation 4.0
and Windows NT Server 4.0
Since the first release of the Windows NT platform in 1993, Microsoft has followed a strategy of providing the same kernel architecture, user interface and Application Programming Interface (API) across both the Windows NT Workstation and Server products, while optimizing, pricing, and licensing the products for two specific segments - the interactive desktop operating system and the high performance server. Consistent with that strategy, the Windows NT 4.0 platform is available in two versions: Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0.
SUMMARY OF DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WINDOWS NT SERVER 4.0 AND WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0
The table below outlines some of the technical differences between Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0.
DETAILS ON WINDOWS NT PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATIONS
Since its inception, Windows NT Workstation has been tuned to provide the best possible performance for a single interactive desktop user. In contrast, Windows NT Server has been tuned to provide great performance when used as a server operating system, with multiple users making simultaneous connections to the server. For example, a user who is working at their PC wants a highly-responsive desktop, with fast graphics and the ability to quickly switch between multiple tasks. However, responding to user input and graphics performance are less important on a dedicated server where sharing files, printers, and Web pages are the priority. With this release Microsoft continues to optimize performance for both server or workstation applications by eliminating scalability bottlenecks of Windows NT Server, configuring network components for minimal memory consumption on Windows NT Workstation 4.0, and tuning network caches depending on usage.
Below are key areas of the Windows NT core system that are performance-tuned for usage as a workstation or server:
The following graphs illustrate how these optimizations affect the performance of each product.* The first graph shows that, as the number of clients connecting to each system increases, Windows NT Server 4.0 allows the percentage of CPU time taken by network file sharing to approach 100 percent, while Windows NT Workstation 4.0 keeps network CPU time low to keep the system responsive to local applications and user input.
*NOTE: This information is presented to demonstrate the effect of increased client load on Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0. In production environments, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 is not licensed, tested or supported beyond 10 simultaneous inbound computers connecting to the workstation computer (see License for details).
The benefit of keeping the network CPU utilization of Windows NT Workstation 4.0 low is evident in the following graph, which shows the Winstone32 test scores for local interactive performance. As the number of clients increases, the Winstone32 score for Windows NT Workstation 4.0 stays high, indicating high performance for local applications. On Windows NT Server 4.0, because the CPU is consumed with networking operations, the Winstone32 score decreases rapidly, and times out after approximately 30 users.
By allowing the network CPU utilization to freely scale with the number of connecting clients, Windows NT Server 4.0 is able to maintain high network performance as the number of clients increases. The following graph shows that the client wait time stays low as more clients connect to Windows NT Server 4.0, while quickly increasing when connecting to Windows NT Workstation.
Summarizing these performance optimizations, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 is tuned for maximum user responsiveness and minimum memory footprint, while Windows NT Server 4.0 is tuned for faster I/O and network throughput. Windows NT Workstation will always sacrifice peer network sharing performance for user responsiveness, while Windows NT Server sacrifices fast graphic redraw and user input for file server performance.
Microsoft is committed to providing a consistent kernel architecture, user interface, and API across the Windows family of products, while at the same time tuning and optimizing each product appropriately for its primary user. The performance enhancements in Windows NT Workstation 4.0 make it a compelling high-powered, interactive desktop operating system. Likewise, the enhancements to Windows NT Server 4.0 make it the clear choice for multipurpose server usage.
The combination of Windows NT Server, and Windows NT Workstation or
Windows 95 on client PCs running Microsoft Internet Explorer continue to be the best
Internet/intranet value available. Microsoft is committed to continue working closely with
customers to develop the best solutions possible.
© 1996 Microsoft Corporation