.Net Server Release Candidate Ready

The first release candidate for the Windows .Net Server software family will be released this quarter, with a final release of the product set for the end of the year.

NEW ORLEANS—The first release candidate for Microsoft Corp.s Windows .Net Server software family will be released this quarter, with a final release of the product set for the end of the year.

Microsoft released the third beta for the product in late October and has been receiving extensive feed back from testers since then.

The release of this server family has been pushed back twice, with the last delay being attributed to Microsofts Trustworthy Computing initiative, which resulted in development being halted and all code being reviewed.

The .Net Windows Server family consists of the entry-level file and print server, known as the Windows .Net Standard server; the Windows .Net Enterprise server, which is the default server; the Windows .Net Datacenter server for those enterprises requiring high levels of scalability and reliability; and a pre-configured, out-of-the-box Web server.

"Right now were marching towards a release candidate this quarter with the final release of the product by the end of the year," said Dwight Krossa, a director of Windows Server Product Management at Microsoft, in an interview here at the companys Tech Ed conference.

Microsoft officials have recently said that security is an even more important issue than legacy application compatibility, and that they expect there to be some problems in that regard moving forward.

Krossa said that while the Windows .Net Server team is unsure at this point what the effect the security review of the code would have on existing applications, "there is the potential that some applications may have issues, but were not sure. Were hoping its minimal or none," he said.

Microsoft also ran an extensive compatibility program and worked with all of its ISV partners to try and identify problems. "Our goal is to be as compatible as possible but, sometimes, for important reasons, applications dont work," Krossa said. "We work with the ISVs to find a way to fix this, either through a workaround or find ways for the partner to change their applications. The goal is always to make it as compatible as possible."

But to some users this is not enough. "I wont even plan a move to new servers until I know I can use my existing application base," said David Moskowitz, CIO and CTO of Productivity Solutions Inc., in Bala Cynwyd, Penn. "The .Net servers arent done until they deliver both compatibility and security."

The major enhancements to the upcoming product are the .Net Framework and ASP .Net. In addition, the application server will also be included as part of the operating system. Users will be able to install the product by role, meaning it can be set up as an application server with a different set of features that if it were being used as a Web server only.

Microsoft has also integrated the Passport authentication system into the product so an application could be set up that linked users Passport identifications with an Active Directory account.