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While the likes of BEA Systems and IBM have developed separate products, Microsoft is positioning its forthcoming Windows .net Server 2003 operating system as having all the functionality users will need.
Bob O'Brien, Microsoft group product manager for the Windows .net Server division, said at last week's DevCon Microsoft developer conference: "Application servers prior to Windows .net Sever were not really designed to natively support XML and XML-based Web services.
"In Windows .net Server, we treat XML natively in the operating system as we would treat any other protocol. We start embedding XML as a native part of what we do in the operating system," O'Brien said.
The inclusion of UDDI technology in the operating system is at the heart of Microsoft's strategy. This enables the publication of a directory of available Web services and subscription to those services. Microsoft is calling its UDDI features Enterprise UDDI Services.
The IIS (Internet Information Services) 6.0 component of .net Server enables developers to tap into a new process model for managing processes, O'Brien said. IIS provides more control of applications and processes within Web sites and features cryptographic services, advanced digest authentication, and configurable access control of processes, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft's strategy of maintaining application server functionality within the operating system means enterprises do not have to layer these capabilities on top of the operating system, O'Brien said.