Moving Toward the Internet’s “Third Stage”

ORLANDO, Fla., June 6, 2000 — In yesterday’s opening keynote at Tech Ed 2000, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates outlined Microsoft’s vision for programming the next phase of the Web. Key to Microsoft’s vision is the ability to easily create Web Services — the next evolution of Web sites that are programmable, highly personalized and accessible from a variety of devices and other Web sites — and orchestrate them in combination with multiple applications, platforms and organizations behind a firewall and over the Internet. To help companies make the transition to this next phase, Microsoft has developed Windows DNA 2000 — the company’s platform for Web Services.

Today at Tech Ed 2000, Bob Muglia, Microsoft Business Productivity Group Vice President, explained how Microsoft believes that new technologies — such as Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, a new firewall and caching product for the enterprise announced today — will enable a new generation of integrated solutions that Web-enable the enterprise and empower knowledge workers.

According to Muglia, the foundation for the revolution that is sweeping through Web-enabled businesses is Windows 2000. Building on the integrated Web technologies of Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 was designed to deliver new levels of reliability, scalability and security to enable Internet-ready solutions.

Windows 2000 has clearly delivered on these objectives, Muglia said. In head-to-head comparisons between Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0, the new product shows marked improvement in reliability and scalability. Since its release in February, over 1.5 million copies have been licensed, an adoption rate that is four times higher than the launch of Windows NT 4.0. Windows 2000 is supported by every leading OEM and has the overwhelming backing of the developer community — as evidenced by the availability of more than 8,500 applications built specifically to take advantage of the Windows 2000 platform.

The Next Wave of Server Products

Muglia pointed out that Windows 2000 is just the beginning of Microsoft’s efforts to provide enterprises with high-quality tools for creating applications that will enable them to take their business processes from the offline world into the age of real-time online transactions. At Tech Ed 2000, the company made clear how it is extending the Windows 2000 platform with the release of a wave of new and enhanced server products, including Windows DNA 2000, Microsoft’s platform for rapidly building next-generation Web solutions.

In his speech, Muglia provided Tech Ed 2000 attendees with a close-up look at some of the members of this exciting family of server products:

Exchange Server 2000: Exchange Server 2000 provides a reliable, easy-to-use messaging and collaboration infrastructure along with a rich set of services for automating business processes and developing Web-based collaborative solutions. Approximately 2,500 technical specialists, many at leading global IT services organizations, are prepared to deliver services to help customers plan, upgrade and deploy Exchange 2000. In addition, many ISVs and ASPs are working closely with Microsoft to deliver solutions and services for Exchange 2000.

Exchange 2000 Release Candidate 2 is now available for customers to conduct pilots and develop collaborative applications. In addition to the community of qualified solution providers, customers can take advantage of the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Readiness Training promotion that offers discounted Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 training.

SQL Server 2000: Currently available in wide public beta, SQL Server 2000 is the latest version of Microsoft’s industry-leading relational database management system (RDBMS), and offers the fastest time to market for line-of-business, Web and analytical solutions. SQL Server 2000 adds a fully Web-enabled XML store, an integrated data mining engine and enhanced scalability and availability. In recent tests, SQL Server 2000 broke all previous records on the industry-standard TPC-C database transaction processing benchmark.

BizTalk Server 2000: As companies open up their business processes to partners, one of the biggest challenges that developers face is solving the problem of integrating a wide range of applications, not only within their own organization, but also across the Internet. BizTalk Server 2000 provides an industrial-strength infrastructure for taking data from internal applications and making it available across the Internet to facilitate trading partner integration, electronic procurement and business-to-business platforms that automate supply chain transactions.

Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000: A new firewall and caching product for the enterprise, ISA Server is designed to strengthen online security by providing a multi-firewall approach that secures private networks and helps IT administrators ensure that Web and Intranet access conforms to corporate usage policies. ISA Server’s caching features speed up Web access and save on bandwidth by storing valuable Web content on the corporate network, saving knowledge workers from having to make repeated trips to the Internet to retrieve important information.

A Single Suite for Departmental and Branch Office Solutions

To help departments and branch offices within organizations take full advantage of the power and functionality of a variety of Microsoft server products and technologies, Microsoft has integrated them into BackOffice Server 2000 — a comprehensive suite created to reduce the cost and complexity of building, deploying and managing IT solutions for branch offices, departments and medium-sized businesses. BackOffice Server 2000, an upgrade from BackOffice Server 4.5, provides a number of new capabilities, including the MultiServer Planning Wizard, which optimizes computing environments by helping IT administrators determine hardware requirements before deployment begins.

Muglia’s keynote also featured a demonstration that used the complete Windows DNA 2000 platform, including Commerce Server 2000, Host Integration Server 2000, Application Center 2000 and Visual Studio development tools, to “Internet-enable” a typical business.

Helping Knowledge Workers Drive the Digital Business Revolution

Knowledge workers are the drivers of the digital business revolution and, the ultimate goal of the Internet’s “third stage” is to deliver new power into their hands, Muglia said. Until a few years ago, the biggest problem most companies faced was providing employees with the critical up-to-date information they needed to make sound business decisions. More recently, the chief issue is information overload. The Internet has flooded people with data of all kind, and it has become increasingly difficult to filter, prioritize and assimilate all the information that is available. The result can be missed priorities and lost opportunities.

To make sure that knowledge workers truly benefit from the new technologies that are emerging, Microsoft has continued to advance the concept of a Digital Dashboard. The Digital Dashboard makes it easy for corporate developers and partners to create customized portal solutions that consolidate the important information that individual workers need in their day-to-day work, including personal data as well as team, corporate and external information.

Digital Dashboard developers are receiving a major upgrade to their toolkit this week with the release of the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit 2.0. The resource kit includes an updated dashboard framework and an Internet standards-based approach to building reusable dashboard components called Web Parts. Digital Dashboards created using Web Parts offer end users a high level of customization and enable developers to more easily present data from a wide variety of back-end information sources.

Muglia concluded his speech by stating that with the Digital Dashboard and Web Parts, Microsoft is delivering a powerful new way for companies to empower knowledge workers with the analytical and collaborative tools that are essential to business success in the Internet era.

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