Microsoft Nets Site Content

Repackaged Content Management Server competes well in midtier market

Just when you thought your product waters were safe, Microsoft Corp. enters. High-end content management vendors such as Interwoven Inc. and Vignette Corp. wont suffer any Microsoft-induced bites in their market share, but low- to midtier vendors may have reason to fear.

Microsofts Content Management Server 2001, which shipped this month, is mainly a repackaging of Resolution 4.0 from NCompass Labs Inc., which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. In fact, the server still contains files that refer to NCompass and Resolution.

Content Management Server 2001, now part of Microsofts .Net server line, doesnt have the level of capability found in high-end platforms, but eWeek Labs tests show that it will satisfy the needs of many companies looking to better manage site content. Content Management Server will also allow organizations to get up and running in much less time than will high-end systems and is faster than most of its competition.

However, organizations used to Microsofts typical (relatively) low pricing may experience sticker shock. Although Content Management Server is priced competitively with midrange content management platforms from vendors such as Eprise Corp. and Percussion Software Inc., at $42,999 per CPU it is easily the most expensive product in Microsofts server line.

NCompass was one of the first companies to make heavy use of ActiveX and Active Server Pages and has always tied Resolution closely to the Microsoft platform, so integrating the product into the .Net server platform was probably a simple task. In fact, one of the main features in Resolution 4.0 and now in Content Management Server 2001 is the Content Connector, which makes it possible to nicely tie content management features into Microsofts Commerce Server.

Content Management Server includes a Windows client for many administrative tasks, but it is also possible to do many tasks—including all content addition, editing and approval—from a standard browser window. The product has very good features for comparing and revising versions of content and for managing multiple sites. Another useful feature makes it possible to stage content and then push it as HTML to any other Web server, even one running on Unix.

A trial version of Content Management Server is available at