Microsoft Web Platform Provides Choice and Flexibility to Application Service Providers

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 2, 1999 — When a business turns to the Internet to enhance and expand its operations, it is essentially opening a branch that never closes, enabling its customers anywhere to enjoy around-the-clock service. To cope with this explosion of e-commerce, many new businesses are turning for help to a growing market of solution providers called Application Service Providers (ASPs) — companies that lease computer software, hardware and service to business customers via the Internet.

When a mother orders a pair of overalls for her daughter through Osh Kosh B’Gosh’s new online store, she unknowingly benefits from seamless service provided by an ASP. And it is Microsoft that supplies many ASPs with a platform of flexible services and solutions that enable companies to extend their business to the Internet.

“With the help of Microsoft, we are expanding possibilities for our customers,” said Ed Felton, vice president of engineering and operations at Pandesic, the largest e-commerce ASP. “Let’s face it, e-commerce is hard–competition can come from anywhere around the world and you don’t get to close your store at 5 p.m. to take a breath. Everything that happens has to happen in real time. We can provide our clients with the tools they need to run their online businesses, and Microsoft works with us to make that world happen.”

Microsoft provides ASPs with the platform, tools and services to take advantage of the opportunities in this rapidly emerging market. ASPs provide hardware, management software, technical support and Web site hosting for their customers.

In his keynote speech at the Application Service Provider Summit in San Francisco today, Tod Nielsen, Microsoft’s vice president of developer marketing, articulated Microsoft’s strategy to provide ASPs with the flexibility and choices they need to take advantage of the opportunities in this rapidly emerging market.

“Never in the history of personal computing have the opportunities been greater than they are today,”
Nielsen said.
“We are at the dawn of a new era of computing — one in which the power of the Internet will change the way we run our businesses. We are completely rebuilding our products and technologies to enable developers to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Microsoft in September introduced Windows DNA 2000, a comprehensive, integrated platform for building and operating state-of-the-art distributed Web applications — as well as the next wave of Internet-based services. Microsoft’s new programming architecture builds on existing technologies and tools to make Web services into reusable, universally programmable building blocks that can be easily created, combined and augmented by millions of developers worldwide. The solution includes Windows 2000 and a range of other components such as Commerce Server 4.0, BizTalk Server, Application Center Server,
Integration Server, Visual Studio and SQL Server.

“Microsoft’s integrated platform based on Windows 2000 allows developers to design and deploy applications based on a scalable and reliable solution,”
said Microsoft product manager Dwight Krossa.
“This is an incredibly cost-effective way for businesses to deploy line-of-business applications. Previously a business would have needed a mainframe computer to expand its capabilities to gain access to the highest quality of line-of-business applications.”

By deploying the solutions contained in Microsoft’s Windows DNA 2000, developers can build platforms that will allow their customers to increase their resources as needed, without a lot of added expense and personnel, Krossa said.
“For example, customers may develop complex Web sites using multiple servers to increase the sites’ size and scope.”
Krossa said.
“Customers are creating the 24 X 7 reliability that their own customers demand. If one server goes down, the entire system need not fail.”

The new breed of Web services contained in Microsoft’s Windows DNA 2000 is richer and more proactive and can directly link applications, services and devices over the Internet, Krossa said. The flexible platform allows developers to design applications that support devices from cell phones to portable notebooks to high-performance Windows work stations. Developers can offer their customers compelling solutions, while delivering the greatest flexibility and choice of services, he said.

“This is a huge benefit for customers–under this new business model, there will be a great deal of software available to customers who could not afford it before,”
Krossa said.
“They can get access to the highest quality business applications where previously they couldn’t afford the machines or the personnel to run them.”

According to Pandesic’s Ed Felton, Microsoft’s technology is key to helping businesses take advantage of this new market.
“Microsoft’s technology allows us as service providers to enhance our customers’ capabilities in serving their own clients,”
he said.
“For example, Microsoft’s SQL Server 7.0 allows our customers to enjoy a superior Web site with improved loading times. This is critical when you want to convert a shopper from a looker to a buyer.”

The Windows DNA 2000 family of solutions includes the following:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000. The core Windows DNA services, including the COM+ component model and services, the high-performance Internet Information Services Web server, Active Server Pages, transactions, messaging, data access, clustering and IP load balancing services, are now integrated into the operating system for greater consistency, easier management and faster performance.

  • Microsoft Commerce Server 4.0. The next generation of the industry’s leading packaged business-to-consumer commerce software provides deeper personalization, expanded site analysis and new product catalog features.

  • Microsoft BizTalk Server. A business process integration solution that supports the BizTalk Framework, the BizTalk Server integrates applications within the enterprise and among businesses across the Internet through the exchange of XML-formatted business documents.

  • Microsoft “Babylon” Integration Server. This provides bi-directional network, data and application integration with a variety of legacy hosts.

  • Microsoft Application Center Server. A new product that makes deployment and management of Windows DNA-based applications across high availability server “farms” as easy as managing a single server. Application Center makes it simple to configure and manage arrays of servers.

  • Microsoft SQL Server “Shiloh.” The next generation of the popular SQL Server 7.0 database adds native XML support and integrated data-mining capabilities, and takes advantage of Windows 2000 for even greater scalability and availability.

  • Microsoft Visual Studio. A set of development tools, spanning multiple languages, provides a common development environment for Windows DNA. It now includes the Windows 2000 Developer’s Readiness Kit so developers can take advantage of Windows 2000.

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