Microsoft to Beef Up Server, Dev Tools

Move aims to better support enterprise customers, provide for tighter integration and drive down costs while driving up usage.

REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft Corp. will be beefing up its server and development tools offerings to better support enterprise customers, provide for tighter integration and drive down costs while driving up usage, said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of the companys server and tools business.

As part of a product roadmap Rudder presented at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting here Thursday, he said the company would be delivering a version of Windows Server in the Longhorn timeframe, known as Longhorn Server. He also said Microsoft is working on an enhanced Web services platform known as Indigo. Rudder also announced new audit and collection services and a "Bear Paw" terminal server to be added to the server system family of products.

Microsoft execs have hemmed and hawed in recent months over whether or not they would release a server version of Longhorn. But as of today, its official: Microsoft is working on a new Windows server release that it is planning to deliver within three years.

In addition, Rudder said Microsoft would ship Windows Small Business Server, at a price point of less than $1,000, before year-end. The system is designed specifically for small and medium business customers.

Other new features and products that Microsoft will be adding across its server product families include 64-bit support, security configuration, Windows rights management, Active Directory Application Mode, Identity Integration Pack, Microsoft services for Unix (SFU) 3.5 in 2003 and SFU 4.0 in 2004, as well as Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004, Speech Server 2004 and BizTalk Server 2004 among others.

Rudder said Microsoft "had a great year in server and tools" with 16 percent growth year over year. Windows Server revenue grew 15 percent, while SQL Server grew 37 percent.

Meanwhile, the .Net programming environment made gains over the Java platform. Last year, 30 percent of enterprise developers used Java and 25 percent used the .Net Framework and Microsofts Visual Studio .Net. Now, Rudder said, 37 percent of developers use .Net compared to 33 percent using Java, according to industry sources compiled by Microsoft. In addition, of the developers using scripting languages, 51 percent use Microsofts Active Server Pages (ASP) and ASP.Net, Rudder said.

And technology such as Microsofts new Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA) 2.0 will enable developers to move Java applications to the .Net platform. "We will definitely be aggressive in moving JSP [JavaServer Pages] sites to ASP.Net—to gain the advantages of lower cost of maintenance," Rudder said.

Following company chairman Bill Gates lead Rudder called Web services "the new paradigm for computing" and Microsoft has taken a leadership position in Web services standards and support with Web services toolkits.

On the Windows front, Windows Server 2003 is selling at a triple run rate that that of Windows 2000 in the same time frame.