Microsoft Outlines Server Family

Microsoft Corp. has added a fourth, pre-configured, out-of-the-box Web server to its forthcoming Windows .Net server family, officials confirmed here at Comdex on Monday.

LAS VEGAS--Microsoft Corp. has added a fourth, pre-configured, out-of-the-box Web server to its forthcoming Windows .Net server family, officials confirmed here at Comdex on Monday.

The Windows .Net Web server joins an enterprise software lineup that includes the .Net Standard server, the .Net Enterprise server and the .Net Datacenter server. All are due to ship in the first half of next year, officials said.

"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 which also gives them the level of functionality they need. As such, we decided to include the Windows .Net Web server in the lineup," Bob OBrien, the group product manager for the Windows Server division, said in an interview.

The third beta for the server family will hit testers later this month. "We are almost ready to go and we are currently doing final checks before we start burning the CDs and getting them out," OBrien said. "We are trying to get beta three into the mainstream and will be aggressively targeting application developers with this beta to get them to start pounding on it and give us comprehensive feedback."

Microsoft is targeting a very large test group with this beta, which will be pushed out through the Microsoft developer network (MSDN). Microsoft plans to issue two release candidates before the code goes gold, OBrien said.

The first release candidate will ship in the first quarter of 2002, followed by the second candidate and then the final code, which is expected to ship at the end of the first half of 2002.

Within the Windows .Net server family, the entry-level file and print server will be known as the Windows .Net Standard server. The Windows .Net Enterprise server, which intends to be the default infrastructure server customers will deploy, will now have four-node clustering capabilities. The Windows .Net Datacenter server will serve enterprises that require the highest level of scalability and reliability.

OBrien said Microsoft is seeing good adoption rates with its Datacenter server. The introduction of the 64-bit code base in May attracted enterprise interest as customers would now get the highest reliability possible out of their Datacenter product and could start looking at doing applications that allowed them to exploit this power, he said.

"With these servers users will also see improvements in several core infrastructure sets--security, performance and scalability," OBrien said.

Other improvements include real time communications support, optimization of terminal services and remote access, as well as the ability to restore server-based files that had been deleted/changed by end users.

"Given all the attention security issues have been getting of late, this server family will be the first server product developed under the Secure Windows Initiative," OBrien said. "We have been looking hard as to what we can do in terms of code processes and have substantially improved on many of the scan tools used internally to ensure we captured things like buffer overflow and other types of activities."

This latest server family offers enhanced security without complicated configurations for mission critical applications, he said.

Dwight Krossa, a director for Microsofts emerging business product management group, told eWeek that Microsoft also is excited about the capabilities of the sever platform with the .Net Framework, ASP .Net and the Common Language Runtime.

"The ability to team with our Visual Studio .Net developer environment, set to ship next February, allows applications to be easily developed and deployed," Krossa said. "We are focusing on integrating the development platform into the operating system; we can do a lots of work to make sure it runs fast and has great integration services."

In addition, Microsoft is committed to letting developers focus on using the language they were familiar with, he said. "We dont force you to go to one language like Java or C, we support lots of languages. What we want is to give developers unlimited possibilities," Krossa said.

OBrien said Microsoft is not encouraging customers to think twice about their potential Windows 2000 server deployments because of the upcoming .Net server line.

"We are recommending that customers continue to deploy Windows 2000 servers and then start evaluating what aspects of the .Net servers were attractive or necessary