Microsoft Building Integration, Management into Longhorn Server

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-02-09

Microsoft Building Integration, Management into Longhorn Server

Microsoft Corp. is hard at work to make "Longhorn," the next iteration of its Windows Server product, do more for less by integrating various server software systems.

To do it, the company plans to extend .Nets capabilities even further with common execution environments and complete .Net Common Language Runtime support, said Valerie Olague, a Windows Server System director, in an interview.

In addition, when Longhorn ships (expected late next year or early in 2006), the new WinFX set of managed APIs that are designed to supersede Win32 will play a big role across all the server stacks, said Olague, in Redmond, Wash.

"Customers will look for all server products to be essentially enabled for the new programming model around WinFX support," Olague said.

"We are also looking at common workflow services, where, say, we take workflow services delivered today in BizTalk Server and essentially bake that into the platform so that workflow is an inherent part of what customers get right out of the box when they ... install Windows Server. BizTalk Server adds additional high-value orchestration capabilities right on top of that," she said.

Next page: Eye on cutting costs


Microsoft is looking to help customers manage costs by enabling and preconfiguring all its server products for Microsoft Operations Manager support, Olague said.

"This makes our server infrastructure much easier to manage," Olague said, adding that although there is skepticism about Microsofts use of the words "integrated innovation," Windows Server System makes that concept real for users.

Some users, such as Dave Lifka, chief technology officer for the Cornell Theory Center at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., agree. Not only are the Microsoft solutions cheaper to support and maintain, Lifka said, they are also not necessarily more costly upfront than their competitors, including Linux.

The Cornell Theory Center, an interdisciplinary research center, runs 1,000 servers and migrated from Unix to Windows in 2000.

"[Microsoft] ramped up their efforts to meet our needs by developing even more integrated tools for developers to use," Lifka said. "We are also excited about all the things in Longhorn. The environment keeps getting richer and more integrated. We chose Windows because we wanted to make it easier for our users to have access to HPC [high-performance computing].

Latest features

  • Improved security
  • WinFX managed APIs
  • WinFS file system based on relational database technology
  • New user interface technologies based on DirectX
  • Avalon presentation and UI design subsystem
  • Indigo communications architecture
  • "We wanted our users to have an integrated development and security environment so that when they developed code, they were integrated in, and there wasnt any porting or modifying involved," Lifka said. "Things like Visual Studio .Net, .Net and Longhorn make a big difference, and our push for Windows has worked out well."

    But the moves are not necessarily winning new converts to Microsoft. An IT consultant for a large pharmaceuticals company based in Rhode Island that has decided to use Sun Microsystems Inc.s J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) technology rather than Microsofts .Net said he had no second thoughts.

    "We already have a number of projects for which we use J2EE in production," the consultant said. "I cant say Im terribly interested in Microsofts latest plans to link its various server software systems together."

    "Part of the problem is that while this would make all the parts of a pure-Microsoft shop interoperate, it wont help us here. That would involve undoing too much multiplatform work and replacing too much non-Microsoft infrastructure," the consultant said.

    Microsoft needs to worry less about how it could knit pure-Windows shops more tightly together and worry more about how to work with common standards, he said.

    But Microsoft, for its part, is aggressively pushing the message that its Windows Server System allows customers to do more with less, and its upcoming global multimillion-dollar advertising program for Windows Server System is designed to put a more human face on this. This latest ad campaign plays into the recently announced Get the Facts campaign, which is designed to show the merits of Windows Server over Linux and focuses on third-party evidence that compares Microsoft platforms with Linux.

    Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

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