Microsoft’s Interoperability Strategy: A Cost-Effective Business Solution for Enterprise Environments

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 4, 2002 — In most enterprise network environments, the co-existence of Microsoft Windows and other platforms is common. As the Windows platform continues its deployment momentum into enterprise environments, organizations are placing increased emphasis on interoperability as a way to leverage their existing infrastructure and application investments. For enterprise IT managers, the challenge is to integrate existing systems with the Windows platform without requiring a costly top-to-bottom overhaul — often called a “rip and replace” solution.

Microsoft is helping to tackle this challenge through infrastructure- and application-interoperability initiatives that focus on integration between Windows and other platforms. Microsoft’s efforts to ensure future infrastructure and application interoperability are currently most visible in its ongoing – work to help define industry-wide standards, including XML Web services, UDDI and SOAP. These advances dovetail with Microsoft’s .NET vision by laying a foundation for next-generation distributed computing — a model that spans multiple languages, operating systems and devices.

Microsoft’s Interoperability Strategy

Microsoft’s interoperability strategy is founded on three key imperatives. First, Microsoft is committed to making Windows work well by building bridges and gateways to existing platforms within the enterprise. Second, Microsoft enables independent software vendors and its partners to develop comprehensive interoperability solutions. Third, Microsoft centers its interoperability strategy around the use of industry standards.

From a business perspective, this strategy focuses on the customer’s bottom line. Microsoft’s interoperability tools are designed to offer enterprise organizations an easy and cost-effective way to develop shared infrastructures using standards-based solutions. These solutions aim to help companies lower their support and maintenance costs through network management consolidation, as well as to help businesses capitalize on their existing IT investments in software, hardware and people.

“We are committed to offering our customers

easier, more cost-effective solutions that will enable them to leverage existing IT investments while taking advantage of the innovation offered by the Windows platform,” explains James Slonsky, a product manager for the Microsoft Windows .NET Server team. “Microsoft provides the best vision for platform interoperability and application migration in the industry.”

Blending Windows and UNIX

Consider the experience of advertising agency Leo Burnett USA, which uses Microsoft Interix to


the company’s database administration more efficient and productive.

Reusing existing scripts to manage the database environment simplified the deployment of SQL Server into a UNIX environment. Interix also provides UNIX-compatible mail features, which allow database analysts to receive

timely notification of any problems with jobs running though messages via e-mail and pagers.

“Interix has

automated some of the time-consuming elements of our database administration,” says Michelle Malcher, a database analyst at Leo Burnett USA.

Meshing Windows and Legacy Host Systems

RealMed, a healthcare claims and payment resolution company based in Indianapolis, Ind., was looking for a simpler, more cost-effective technology infrastructure to deliver its claims resolution platform. To streamline claims processing and payment, RealMed connected medical-service providers’ offices over the Internet to Web servers in its RealMed data center, linking providers directly with the appropriate health insurance carriers. This connection occurred over Frame Relay using Microsoft Host Integration Server (HIS) 2000 and its built-in Component Object Model Transaction Integrator (COMTI) to talk to the CICS transactions on a carrier’s mainframe system.

“One reason for our going with HIS 2000 is that it’s IP enabled,” explains Brian Quinn, Manager of Legacy Systems Integrations for RealMed. “We eliminate our need to put any hardware within the insurance carriers’ systems. The insurance companies don’t need to make any changes to hardware or any other part of the infrastructure because HIS sits very lightly on the host system using existing IBM components.”

Integrating Windows with NetWare and Macintosh

Microsoft also provides solutions to facilitate easy interoperability with Netware and Macintosh.


2000 Services for Macintosh

offers a powerful platform for

integrating Macintosh

with Windows

2000, enabling Windows

2000 and Apple Macintosh clients to share files

and printer servers, and allowing Macintosh users to dial into Windows 2000 servers.

Microsoft Services for Netware provides customers with a complete set of new interoperability services and tools that enable the

easy co-existence of Windows 2000 and Netware.

The solution allows customers

to synchronize directories and migrate files between Netware and Windows 2000, and offers Windows 2000 file and print, application, communication, and Internet/intranet services — in a Netware-based network. Windows 2000 Terminal Services


the infrastructure

for customers to run Windows applications on non-Windows based clients, including Macintosh, Novell Netware, and UNIX.

Interoperability Solutions, Then and Now

Customer demand for interoperability solutions continues to escalate, driven largely by the need to cut costs due to a slowing economy, the need to maximize return on investments, and the need for standards-based solutions. Using industry standards to make the Windows platform interoperate with other platforms is a high priority for Microsoft. Interoperability is key to the success of the .NET strategy and reflects Microsoft’s commitment help customers get the most value out of their IT investments.

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