TechEd - Microsoft to show .net is "real"

Microsoft will try to show IT professionals "how .net and XML Web services are real today" during this week's TechEd conference...

Microsoft will try to show IT professionals "how .net and XML Web services are real today" during this week's TechEd conference in New Orleans.

The company plans to showcase corporations and vendor partners that are using its new .net development environment to build real-world applications and XML-based Web services, according to John Montgomery, a group product manager for the .net platform.

But .net, which shipped in February, has hardly become pervasive in corporate IT. Most enterprise users are just starting to explore .net and Web services technologies, said analysts, early adopters and even Microsoft vendor partners last week.

Mark Driver, an analyst at Gartner, said he expects .net adoption to be gradual over the next five years. "Most adoption is really going to kick in next year," he said, adding that Microsoft users "have very little choice".

But Driver said he routinely advises his clients to avoid deploying mission-critical applications that rely on .net for at least six to nine months.

Jon Stotts, a spokesman for Microsoft partner iWay Software, which makes components to help integrate business applications, said his firm's enterprise customers are also showing great interest in .net and Web services. But none of the interested companies is beyond the proof-of-concept stage.

"Our customers are very conservative, so it will probably be a long time before the majority are implementing these solutions," Stotts predicted, noting that his firm's clients include many of the top 100 companies in the US.

He added that users "are still trying to figure out exactly how they're going to improve their business processes" by using .net.

But Driver said some firms may see advantages to using .net today, particularly if they write Web applications, because Microsoft's ASP.Net is "heads and tails more powerful" than its Active Server Pages predecessors.

The life insurance division of Pacific Life Insurance, for example, has noted a 20% to 30% performance improvement in Web page delivery since switching to ASP.Net, according to chief information officer Cameron Cosgrove.

Cosgrove said that about six of his developers adopted Microsoft's beta tool last year and converted the division's Web site to ASP.Net. They also built two Web services to transfer information between the company's front end and database using XML-based messages sent via the Simple Object Access Protocol.

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