Q&A: Microsoft Brings Server Products Together Under New Brand, Windows Server System

REDMOND, Wash., April 16, 2003 Microsoft today is rolling out a new server brand, Windows Server System, to its customers and its industry partners. In the coming weeks and months the IT industry will see this brand appear broadly across a mix of marketing channels. Company executives say that Windows Server System signals a commitment to customers that Microsoft is focused on delivering a comprehensive, integrated and interoperable server infrastructure with which customers can build, deploy, connect, and operate agile business solutions.

PressPass spoke with Paul Flessner , senior vice president of the Microsoft Server Platform Division, to learn why Microsoft is now introducing this brand, how .NET is integrated throughout Windows Server System, and why this server infrastructure offering is important to customers.

PressPass: Why did Microsoft decide to introduce a new brand for its server infrastructure? And why the name Windows Server System?

Flessner: There are really two primary reasons for this change. First, we are sending a clear signal to our customers and industry partners that we have heard their feedback that IT has become increasingly complex and costly and less able to deliver business value. With Windows Server System we are helping them understand the value that our comprehensive, integrated and interoperable server infrastructure delivers today, as well as making a long-term commitment to reduce IT complexity and costs.

Second, by aligning the new brand with the server platform, we are clarifying that our long-term server business and technology strategy starts with Windows Server at the foundation. With this new brand, we are emphasizing to our customers and industry partners the business value of a top-to-bottom integrated server infrastructure. We want our customers and partners to know that we are working hard to insure they are getting the best return on their investments with Windows Server System.

PressPass: Elaborate on the customer benefit of using an

integrated and interoperable server system.

Flessner: By taking advantage of common software architecture throughout an IT environment, a business can simplify development, management, and operations, and reduce costs and time to market. We are making significant investments with Windows Server System to deliver high quality and dependable integrated server infrastructure that provides a highly productive environment for building, deploying and managing connected business applications. We believe strongly that a common architecture that spans application, operations, and information infrastructure is key to reducing complexity and costs essentially reducing the total costs of ownership.

Because we focus on integration and reducing complexity, our customers can, in turn, focus their investments on adding greater business value through their solutions rather than focusing on plumbing and management. Because they spend less time building and connecting new applications, they get new solutions to market sooner, again adding value for their business, while also reducing development and operations costs. These are huge advantages for a business in today’s economic climate, but these advantages are even more important for ensuring competitive advantage as the economy turns around.

With the Windows Server System, we are delivering server infrastructure which builds on the Windows Server platform, and provides the integrated functionality businesses need to connect their applications, increase the productivity of information workers as well as IT professionals, build an IT infrastructure which is highly dependable and secure, and accomplish all of this with the best value for the business.

PressPass: What comprises the new Windows Server System?

Flessner: All of Microsoft’s business server categories will become part of the Windows Server System, including e-business (BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Content Management Server, Host Integration Server), data management and analysis (SQL Server), messaging and collaboration (Exchange Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Project Server, Real-Time Communications Server), security (Internet Security and Acceleration Server) and management (Systems Management Server, Operations Manager, Application Center).

And, of course, the Windows Server family, including Windows Server 2003, is the server platform and the foundation for Windows Server System.

PressPass: You mentioned Web services playing a key role in providing the interoperability needed to allow Windows Server System to add value within a heterogeneous IT environment. Can you explain how .NET enables this?

Flessner: .NET, as Microsoft’s software for connecting information, people, systems, and devices through Web services, is a core part of the common architecture for the Windows Server System, and makes this the most compelling server infrastructure for customers and partners who want to quickly build solutions that span companies, applications and platforms. Microsoft has been working hard for more than five years, both with the industry and across our company, to make Web services a reality for our customers. To date we’ve delivered in partnership with the industry the core specifications for Web services and launched products that enable Web services solutions, such as Visual Studio .NET and the upcoming Windows Server 2003. We have also worked with our customers to help them incorporate .NET into their data centers, helping them to connect their applications and infrastructure, which in turn helps to reduce costs and complexity, while increasing efficiency.

There are many thousands of customers taking advantage of .NET technology today. For instance, customers use .NET technology to extend existing mainframe-based applications to partners or to customers. Some customers use .NET technology to connect internal systems that are built on a variety of platforms and written in a variety of programming languages. Additionally, customers use .NET technology to connect client applications such as ERP or CRM clients, Microsoft Office or applications running on Windows CE-based devices into existing line of business applications running on a variety of platforms.

Our strategy around .NET is fundamentally about XML and Web services enabling our offerings to help ensure maximum interoperability for our customers. Our work with other vendors and standards bodies is a key part of that strategy, and we will continue to ensure that our products deliver the best experience for customers as they move to Web services.

PressPass: How do other Microsoft offerings, like Visual Studio .NET and Office, work with Windows Server System?

Flessner: Visual Studio .NET is the integrated development environment which is designed to complement each of the servers making up Windows Server System. The tools help companies build solutions that can span across the Windows Server System and surface through Office applications as well as custom desktop applications and partner solutions. Having the means to bring the right information at the right time to the right information worker is a powerful benefit we can deliver to our customers. This is just one example of the synergies we have developed across the entire Microsoft platform. It’s these synergies that provide our customers with a powerful competitive advantage something we believe other software companies just can’t deliver.

PressPass: How does the upcoming launch of Windows Server 2003 relate to Windows Server System?

Flessner: The imminent launch of Windows Server 2003 marks a significant milestone for the company. It is the best performing, highest quality Windows Server platform released to date. The customer anticipation for this release has been overwhelming and the new platform will provide a powerful foundation for Windows Server System.

By timing the introduction of the Windows Server System brand with the launch of Windows Server 2003, we underscore that customers will not only benefit in scenarios where they are using only Windows Server 2003, such as for file and print services or as a Web server, but also when they are using any and all of the pieces of Windows Server System together for more complex scenarios.

PressPass: When will we start to see the new Windows Server System brand?

Flessner: We will begin rolling out the new name with the launch of Windows Server 2003 on April 24. Over the following months, customers will see the new brand incorporated across the server line and in all forms of communications, including Web site content and collateral. At TechEd 2003, in early June, we will also focus on further describing the investments we are making in the common architecture of Windows Server System and our overall integrated server infrastructure.

PressPass: What do you want IT professionals to think of when they see

Windows Server System?

Flessner: The bottom line with Windows Server System is that we want to make sure our customers and industry partners know how committed we are to helping them get the best return on their investment in technology. Windows Server System builds on the Windows Server platform, and provides comprehensive, integrated and interoperable server infrastructure that simplifies the development, deployment and operation of agile business solutions. We’re listening to our customers, and responding to their needs by providing them with the best technology to help reduce IT complexity, to help lower the cost of running their business, and to help create new value for their business through the strategic use of IT assets. That’s what Windows Server System is all about.

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