Microsoft to Showcase Interoperability Technologies

At Interop, company officials laud the progress made so far but say a lot of work remains to be done.

Microsoft is using Interop New York to showcase the interoperability work from its collaboration with the 50 software and hardware vendors that are members of the Interoperability Vendor Alliance it sponsors.

The technologies from the work of the Alliances technical labs and being shown at Interop the week of Oct. 22 are used to streamline the management of heterogeneous systems, including Linux, Oracle, JBoss, SAP, Windows and SQL Server, Tom Robertson, Microsofts general manager for interoperability and standards, told eWEEK Oct. 23.

The work was done through the Systems Management Lab with the help of EMC, CA, Engyro, Tidal, F5 Networks and Microsoft.

Centeris, Centrify, Quest Software and Microsoft also worked together to show how to centrally manage security identities across Linux, Unix, Mac OSX and Windows systems in the Centralized Identity Lab.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., also worked with CA, Oxford Computer Group and other industry vendors under the federated identity initiative to create step-by-step lab guides to demonstrate cross-product federation, he said.

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Meridio, Open Text, Vorsite, SchemaLogic and Microsoft also collaborated on advancing portal document repository collaboration that lets companies identify, move, search and collaborate on documents across portals and repositories.

"We think a lot of progress has already been made and a lot more will be made going forward," Robertson said. "We are very pleased with the solutions we are showing at Interop and the amount of collaboration that is taking place as we do this."

Microsofts objective was to find the issues its customers cared most about and then work internally with them, its partners and other vendors to address those issues, he said.

The 41-member Interoperability Executive Customer Council, which Microsoft set up in June 2006, is addressing more than 60 percent of all issues identified by its customers and has made progress in four areas: office productivity and collaboration tools; developer tools and run-time; security and identity management; and systems management, Robertson said.

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To read more about Microsofts Customer Council, click here.

"There are other issues that are still outstanding and which we will continue to work to solve," he said.

On the security and identity management front, Microsoft collaborated with the Fraunhofer-Institute, ThoughtWorks, Zend Technologies and Ping Identity to develop open-source interoperability projects on information cards for systems based on Sun Microsystems Java language, Ruby, PHP, and C-Module, Robertson said.

Regarding systems management, Microsofts acquisition of enterprise management company Engyro helped bring other monitoring products natively into Systems Center Operations Manager 2007, Robertson said.

Some customers such as Thomas Vogel, head of information management for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland, and a member of the Interoperability Executive Customer Council, were initially skeptical of Microsofts motives.

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"I initially thought this council might be nothing more than an alibi for Microsoft in its antitrust battles, but that skepticism was unfounded as Microsoft is committed to taking the right steps in the right direction for a number of issues, some of which are close to my heart," he told eWEEK. "We are having constructive discussions about interoperability."

Another customer, Radu Popescu-Zeletin, director of the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems, is also pleased with the way things have gone on the Council.

"We are running a number of projects with Microsoft to try and solve some of the interoperability issues around this, and we are satisfied with what we have achieved so far, but this will be an ongoing issue as there will always be new products from different companies that will need to interoperate," he told eWEEK.

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