As expected Microsoft Corp. on Friday announced the release of the third beta for its Windows .Net Server family.
"Testers will begin to experience a powerful application development environment," said Bob OBrien, the group product manager for the Windows Server division, on Friday.
Microsoft is advancing its integrated development platform by adding native support for industry-standard protocols such as XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, he said.
"Combined with the integrated Microsoft .Net Framework and other application services, the new Windows servers will enable developers to create powerful Web sites, services and applications with a fast time to market," he said.
For business customers, the family of new Windows servers has been optimized to address the unique ways in which customers deploy servers to support their business needs.
Microsoft was hoping to announce the release of the beta in Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates keynote at Comdex in Las Vegas last Sunday. But last minute tweaks and finalizations delayed the announcement a few days.
In an interview with eWeek at Comdex, OBrien confirmed that a fourth, pre-configured, out-of-the-box Web server would be included when the Windows .Net server family shipped in the first half of next year.
"We are trying to get beta three into the mainstream and will be aggressively targeting application developers with this beta to get them to start pounding on it and give us comprehensive feedback," he said at that time.
Microsoft was also targeting a very large test group with this beta, which would be pushed out through the Microsoft developer network (MSDN) and target multiple hundreds of thousands of potential testers. "We also intend to have two release candidates before the code goes gold," he said.
Moving forward, the first release candidate would take place sometime in the first quarter of 2002, followed by the second candidate and then the final code, which was currently expected to ship towards the end of the first half of 2002.
Microsoft has also finalized the names of the various Windows .Net servers. The entry-level file and print server would be known as the Windows .Net Standard server; the Windows .Net Enterprise server, which tended to be the default infrastructure server customers deployed, would now have four-node clustering capabilities; while the Windows .Net Datacenter server would serve those enterprises requiring the highest level of scalability and reliability.
Customers had asked Microsoft to ship IIS default lockdown, which it was doing in IIS 6.0 – included with the new server line. Customers would also see tighter security out of the box, new authentication technology would be supported and business data could be safely exchanged between systems and customers.
This latest server family also offers enhanced security without complicated configurations for mission critical applications as enhanced clustering support and performance for high-end applications, including new 64-bit support for large memory-intensive processing, he said.
Dwight Krossa, a director for Microsofts emerging business product management group, also told eWeek at Comdex that Microsoft was excited about the capabilities of the sever platform with the .Net Framework, ASP .Net and the Common Language Runtime.
"The ability to team with our Visual Studio .Net developer environment, set to ship next February, allows applications to be easily developed and deployed. As we are focusing on integrating the development platform into the operating system, we can do a lots of work to make sure it runs fast and has great integration services," he said.
In conclusion OBrien said Microsoft was not encouraging customers to think twice about their potential Windows 2000 server deployments because of the upcoming .Net server line. "We are recommending that customers continue to deploy Windows 2000 servers and then start evaluating what aspects of the .Net servers were attractive or necessary for them," he said.