Ready for Prime Time

Microsoft VP Bill Veghte says Server 2003 eases tasks for key audiences.

Bill Veghte
Three and a half years of development work by some 5,000 Microsoft Corp. staff will culminate this Thursday in the launch of the Windows Server 2003 family of products at an event in San Francisco. Amid the flurry of final engineering work, Bill Veghte (pictured), corporate vice president of Microsofts Windows Server group, took time out of his hectic schedule to discuss his vision for the new server line with eWeek Senior Editor Peter Galli.

Which customers is Microsoft targeting with Windows Server 2003?

For the very first time Microsoft has a breadth of customer segments and roles, who use our technologies at the departmental level all the way up to mission-critical area. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to be focused on all these different customer groups based on their feedback of what they want. The focus for the small business segment is simplicity. On the enterprise side it is primarily about how we were going to lower their cost structure, and secondly about improved scalability, reliability and security.

There are also three audiences I care about: the developer, IT professional and information worker. At the end of the day my bias is honestly toward the IT professional. But we can finally now also tell developers that they can take the productivity advancements of Visual Studio, so they can write similar or richer applications in half the time and then hook them up to a server thats really optimized on the basis of that. Finally, the information worker is important as they put pressure on the IT professional. The focus for us here is making it easier for them to connect, and then make this more secure and give them a richer experience.

Are you expecting Windows Server 2003 to be an easier sell to legacy NT 4 customers than those already on Windows 2000 Server ?

Im particularly excited about the advancements for NT 4 customers. I believe unequivocally that we can enable them to run their businesses more cost effectively and more productively. NT 4 was a great product when it was delivered, but it was designed, developed and architected in 1994. You cannot compare where we were with regard to reliability and robustness with NT 4 versus today. We were maniacal in the last two releases about no reboots. At the same time our ecosystem has become more reliable, people are writing higher quality drivers. Take GE Medical, which had 70 NT 4 domains, which they took down to four on Windows Server 2003.

For Windows 2000 customers, thats going to depend a little bit on the scenario. To maintain a long-term relationship with these customers, Microsoft has to protect the investments theyve made in Windows 2000, even as we advance it and address the things they gave us feedback on, whether it be things in the directory like domain rename, schema redefine or how clustering happens with Exchange.