This eWEEK: Ocotober 20, 2003

Thinking green? You should be if you're a user of Great Plains or Navision software.

Thinking green? You should be if youre a user of Great Plains or Navision software. Project Green, the code name for the next generation of Microsoft business applications, is where youll be heading in 2006 or so, about the time that "Longhorn," the next major version of Windows, appears on the scene. That gives you about three years to plan for perhaps the largest upgrade—or migration—you may ever experience.

Microsofts intention to create a unified family of applications around a common code base first emerged around the time that the company acquired Great Plains nearly three years ago. Doing the math, that means the next big thing will have been about six years in the making, if it ships on time, which software never does. Thats a long wait.

Pulling off such a user-base migration does tend to call cattle-drive metaphors to mind. To keep people in line, Microsoft is promising the moon—support until 2013, Tami Reller, Microsofts corporate vice president for Business Solutions, told Senior Editor Peter Galli. But some users, as Peter reports, dont expect that to actually happen. And what does "support" mean? Has Microsoft gone too far this time in taxing the patience of its loyal user base?

A lot can happen in three years. If Alfred Mockett, chairman and CEO of American Management Systems, is correct, there will be far fewer systems integrators by that time. Consolidation is the trend, Mockett says, and in order to get out in front, AMS acquired R.M. Vredenburg over the summer. In his Face to Face interview, Mockett explains that hes cut loose some excess baggage from AMS and is now set to grow—and acquire—to gain the size AMS needs to survive and thrive.

In the Labs section, Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar takes us on a tour of new storage appliances. Henry discovers the Kashya KBX4000, from Kashya, a data replication appliance that will give smaller businesses newfound control over data—and the ability to comply with laws such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley as well as SEC regulations. These new guidelines will drive a resurgence of interest in WORM devices. An example: Network Appliances SnapLock Compliance edition is a hard-drive-based solution for storing WORM content.

Finally, we think VeriSign was wrong to direct Internet traffic to its own portal sites, and we say so in this weeks Editorial. VeriSign provides critical Internet domain name translation services, and Internet users, as ICANN understands, count on those services being impartial. Its wrong to use that favored position to steer people to particular Web sites.

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