Web services are key to future, says Microsoft

IT is still critical for a competitive advantage, said a Microsoft official at the TechEd 2003 conference in Dallas, while also...

A Microsoft official strssed the impotance of web services in building the future of IT at the Tech Ed 2003 conference in Dallas yesterday.

Paul Flessner, Microsoft's senior-vice president for the Windows Server division, offered web services and Microsoft's plethora of products such as Windows Server 2003 as a next wave of computing.

He stressed that web services presents a standards-bases approach to application infrastructure.

"It's the right thing to do, it's the right thing for our industry, it's the right way to make our applications relevant for a longer period of time," Flessner said. "It will lower the cost of investment if we do it correctly."

Microsoft acknowledged not every system will be based on Microsoft software, but will support integration with other platforms.

"Please get connected with web services. I think it's what we need to do as an industry. I hope you do it on the Microsoft platform and .net," Flessner said.

Flessner provided details on Microsoft's solutions based on the Windows platform, covering aspects ranging from federated identity to XML and application management. Microsoft is proposing its "Windows Server System" as its IT platform, the foundation of which is Windows Server 2003.

Flessner acknowledged the delay of the next version of the SQL Server database, codenamed Yukon. It is now scheduled for release in the second half of 2004.

The delay will enable Microsoft to synchronise plans for putting the company’s Common Language Runtime (CLR) in both its database and development tools, said Stan Sorensen, Microsoft director SQL Server product management.

CLR is intended to make it easy to design components and applications in which objects interact across applications. Yukon is also expected to feature improvements in areas such as business intelligence and security.

A private beta release of Yukon to a select group of 1,000 users is planned for the end of this month. A larger, public beta is planned for 2004.

The company also unveiled a number of products including a beta release of BizTalk Server 2004,  the Jupiter e-business suite, which combines the BizTalk Server integration system, Content Management Server and Commerce Server and SharePoint Portal Server Version 3.

The "Whidbey" version of the Visual Studio development tool is also planned for release and expected to feature integration with Yukon as well as improved IDE productivity and extended support for XML web Services and Office programmability.

In 2006 Microsoft will release the next version of Windows Server, which will complement the SQL Server database. The "Kodiak" version of Exchange, will support web services and runs on top of SQL Server, also is planned for 2006. Kodiak will be supported automatically within Visual Studio.

The SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services for making web-based or paper reports based on business intelligence in the database is expected to ship by the end of this year.

Borland Software, in an agreement with Microsoft, will ship the SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition database with Borland C#Builder for the Microsoft .net Framework.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will develop a Borland page accessible on the SQL Server website where developers can obtain information about the C#Builder tool.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld

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