Microsoft to Publish New Common Engineering Criteria at Tech Ed

While Microsoft says the criteria demonstrate its commitment to providing best-in-class products that are integrated and manageable, it was criticized by customers as a ruse to facilitate even greater lock-in.

Microsoft will use its annual Tech Ed conference to be held in Boston the week of June 12 to publish the new Windows Server System Common Engineering Criteria for infrastructure software produced in 2007.

Among the new criteria are improved feedback platform for users; IPv6 support; Web services adoption; improved diagnostics; identity and access management; support for the security configuration wizard; native x64-bit support; and a standardized content model for printed documentation as well as online information.

Microsoft instituted the Windows Server System CER (Common Engineering Roadmap) for infrastructure software in 2003.

It lays down a process wherein all of its infrastructure server products will follow Common Engineering Criteria.

This includes a mechanism for publicly publishing progress toward implementing those criteria before each product launches.

The Common Engineering Criteria also apply to the software as well as to accompanying documentation, training, support, licensing and branding, it says.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant adds that it also "demonstrates Microsofts commitment to provide best-in-class products that are integrated and manageable, thereby providing the most consistent and predictable user experience, reducing IT complexity and total cost of ownership, and enabling a more secure and reliable IT infrastructure."

However, when the CER was first announced, it was roundly criticized by customers as a ruse to make its "latest and greatest" products work better together at the expense of older versions and thus facilitate even greater lock-in.

/zimages/6/28571.gifTo read more about customers criticism of CER, click here.

Needless to say, Microsoft officials such as Andy Lees, corporate vice president for server and tools marketing, didnt see it quite that way.

In an interview with eWEEK at the time, Lees said that Microsoft was not "forcing anyone to do anything. ... The better togetherness is something we often cant retrofit, but if there are things that we can retrofit so that products can be used in combination, I think we will go through and do that.

"But on average, I suppose, people using the latest product combination will get the most amount of benefit. The Roadmap basically says we are working on this, and we will have a set of criteria that we will be snapping to. All of our products that come out in 2005 will adhere to that criteria. We are also already working on the next round of criteria after that, which may be in 2006 or 2007," he said.

The eWEEK Editorial Board also weighed in on the topic, expressing optimism about the concept, but also noting the concerns of some customers and Microsofts previous history.

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