Microsoft adds orchestration to Windows Server

Microsoft's next version of the Windows Server operating system will include business process orchestration features to allow...

Microsoft's next version of the Windows Server operating system will include business process orchestration features to allow users to link together web services, among other tasks, without the need for additional middleware.

The technology will be lifted from BizTalk Server, which is designed to help companies integrate disparate business applications and connect to business partners.

Microsoft has shared few details of its plans for a new Windows Server product, which is expected after the release of its next Windows client, codenamed Longhorn, probably in 2006.

The Windows Server version of Longhorn will include web services middleware, codenamed Indigo, will include the orchestration technology.

Microsoft, together with IBM and BEA Systems proposed a standard for web services choreography last year, with orchestration support called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS).  BizTalk Server 2004, due out in the coming months, also supports for BPEL4WS.

"There is core BizTalk orchestration capability that we're going to put into the OS," said Valerie Olague, director of Windows Server System marketing at Microsoft.

The addition of orchestration features makes sense as part of the plans for the Indigo web services layer in Longhorn, said Current Analysis principal analyst Shawn Willett.

By putting basic web services related infrastructure software in the operating system, Microsoft is trying to
"co-opt" the market for web services middleware, which includes players such as BEA, webMethods, Tibco Software and SeeBeyond Technology, Willett said.

Orchestration capability would be a welcome addition to the operating system, said Bill Evjen, technical director at Reuters America, a Windows Server and BizTalk Server user.  

"The more you can put in the core operating system the better. Then we would not have to add another box to the architecture," he said. "It is easier to manage, requiring a more singular skill set. Right now we have a BizTalk guy."

Microsoft has adopted capabilities from BizTalk Server in the Windows server product in the past, such as message queuing,  but this does not mean that BizTalk capabilities will be absorbed in the server operating system.

"The OS is the place where these common kind of services need to reside. The focus for BizTalk is in more specialised areas. Orchestration is very general," said Olague.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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