Security Initiative Delays .Net Server--Again

Microsoft is pushing back into the second half of this year the release of its Windows .Net Server family, the first casualty flowing from the company's focus on its Trustworthy Computing initiative.

Microsoft Corp. is pushing back the release of its Windows .Net Server family, the first casualty flowing from the companys focus on its Trustworthy Computing initiative.

The Redmond, Wash., software company said late Thursday that it is delaying the release of the .Net server family into the second half of this year, citing the focus on its Trustworthy Computing initiative as one of the reasons.

Bill Gates, Microsofts chairman and chief software architect, last month sent employees an e-mail outlining his vision for Trustworthy Computing, a design, development and implementation philosophy that he hopes will restore some of the confidence that the companys persistent security problems have eroded in recent years.

That initiative involves pulling more than 70 developer teams off software development, training them in secure programming and then having them audit the various software components that make up Windows XP and the upcoming Windows .Net server operating systems.

While Microsoft had originally hoped to release the .Net server line by the end of 2001, it first pushed that deadline out last year. Yesterday it delayed it again.

"The Windows .Net Server family will no longer ship in the first half of 2002, as Microsoft had hoped. [The] Release Candidate is expected for this summer and RTM [release to manufacturing] is currently projected for the second half of 2002.

"Microsoft continues to prioritize thorough testing and direct customer feedback, thus development cycles are subject to change as Microsoft progresses from milestone to milestone," the company said in a statement released to eWEEK late Thursday.

The delay was also due to the "increased focus on the core tenets of trustworthy computing (security, privacy and availability) as a part of Microsofts everyday culture and its core product development cycle.

"As a result, there will continue to be modifications and additions to engineering processes and procedures that may lengthen the delivery schedule in the short term, but will yield higher quality and customer approval in the long term," Microsoft said.

A spokesman could not be immediately reached for additional comment.

When Microsoft released the third beta of the Windows .Net servers last November, Bob OBrien, the group product manager for the Windows Server division, told eWEEK 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 then expected to ship toward the end of the first half of 2002.

The entry-level file and print server will be called Windows .Net Standard server; the Windows .Net Enterprise server, which tends to be the default infrastructure server customers deploy, will now have four-node clustering capabilities; while the Windows .Net Datacenter server will serve those enterprises requiring the highest level of scalability and reliability, he said.

A fourth, preconfigured, out-of-the-box Windows .Net Web server will also be included in the lineup. "We have seen a lot of interest from customers over the last year or two for single-purpose systems that they dont have to configure but that also gives them the level of functionality they need," OBrien said.

Beta testers will also see a far more powerful application development environment as Microsoft continues to advance its integrated development platform by adding native support for industry protocols like XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. This environment simplifies integration and interoperability and increases developer productivity and enterprise efficiency, he said.

"This, combined with integrated .Net Framework and other application services, will enable developers to create powerful Web services and applications with fast time to market," OBrien said at that time.