Third Parties Weigh In on Microsoft's 'Dublin' App Server

Microsoft's new application server technology draws attention from its partner and analyst ranks. Experts say the new technology, part of .NET 4.0, will help developers more easily build, deploy and manage composite applications.

With Microsoft announcing new application server technology and enhancements to its Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation, observers including partners and analysts say the move is positive for Microsoft and its developer ecosystem, but not everybody will be ready for the new technology.

Microsoft announced new application server technology on Oct. 1, code-named "Dublin," that will reside in Windows Server.

John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research, said:

""Microsoft has never referred to any of its software as an -application server' before even though they've had one since Microsoft Transaction Server -- aka -Viper.' Rather, Microsoft has always bundled its app server software with Windows Server. This may change. Dublin is a pragmatic way for Microsoft's Connected Systems Division to introduce its latest -foundation' developments to market without having to wait for a new release of Windows Server and BizTalk Server. Microsoft took the same approach with the first foundation releases in a package called -WinFX' but that code ended up in Windows Server 2008 and was not released as a separate product. I can see advantages to Microsoft having a standalone -application server' product. It would free the company to more easily deploy to a variety of Windows configurations, both large (data centers) and small (devices). We'll see.""

AmberPoint has been working closely with Microsoft for quite some time now, said Ed Horst, chief marketing officer at AmberPoint, a maker of SOA (service-oriented architecture) governance and management software. "We provide governance and management for composite applications," Horst said. And Microsoft even ships a version of AmberPoint-AmberPoint Express-with the current versions of Visual Studio, he added.

"In that regard, we've now been working closely on Dublin and associated technologies, too," Horst said. "We'll be -demo-ing' AmberPoint's support for Dublin at the Microsoft PDC [Professional Developers Conference] coming up at the end of October in L.A."

Moreover, since Microsoft designed WCF, Dublin and WF from the ground up to support distributed, composite applications, it eliminates the need for the developer to hand-code these capabilities into the application as it is being built, Horst said.

"This will represent a big reduction in cost and time-to-market for these composite applications--aka SOA, distributed, Web 2.0, etc. applications," he said. "The flexible deployment models that Dublin supports will also make it much easier and less costly to produce and run really large scale, high-performance applications."