Microsoft Releases Services for Unix 3.0

At N+I, Microsoft announces the release of Services for Unix 3.0 and addresses reports that the adoption of its Windows 2000 server family has been slow, particularly around Active Directory.

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced that its Services for Unix 3.0 product, software that allows greater operability between existing Unix-based enterprise systems and Windows on both the server and desktop, has been released to manufacturing.

In a presentation at the NetWorld+Interop 2002 trade show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of Microsofts .Net Server group, said SFU 3.0 should be available through the usual Microsoft distribution channels by the end of June at a suggested retail price of $99.

Veghte also used his presentation to address analyst reports that adoption of Microsofts Windows 2000 server family has been slow, particularly around Active Directory.

He also tried to build momentum around the companys upcoming and twice-delayed Windows .Net server family, which is now slated for release by the end of the year.

Bob OBrien, group product manager in the Windows .Net Product Management Group, told eWEEK in an interview that Microsoft is starting to see Active Directory adoption in the extranet space. "While our technology could always do that, we were never seen as a leader in that space. But the tide is turning on that," he said.

He cited three customers that have deployed Active Directory in extranet implementations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which converted 1 million users from Sun Microsystems Inc.s iPlanet, and Sallie Mae, which chose Active Directory to do authentication and directory services for 1.5 million borrowers and lenders.

Clalit Health Services recently also deployed Active Directory to authenticate its more than 3.7 million customers online, giving them the ability to access their personal medical records, schedule appointments and review test results any time, OBrien said.

He declined, however, to release any specific product numbers to back up his claims that Active Directory and Windows 2000 Server adoption is greater than widely thought.

As Microsoft moves closer to the release of the Windows .Net Server family, the company will stress the fact that this release is a continuation of the dependability, scalability and reliability improvements found in Windows 2000, he said.

Citing early customer deployments of Windows .Net Server, OBrien touted Italys Guarda di Finanza, an inspective police force under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, and JetBlue Airways, which has implemented a "paperless cockpit" that provides pilots with dynamically updated, electronic versions of flight manuals instead of standard paper copies.

JetBlue is also using Windows .Net Server technology to achieve greater security via the use of fingerprint biometrics embedded in smart cards, he said.