On the second day of Microsoft® Tech•Ed 2004 Conference, Andrew Lees, corporate vice president for Server and Tools Marketing at Microsoft Corp., introduced to more than 11,000 customers and partners the Windows Server System™ Common Engineering Roadmap, Microsoft’s long-term plan for delivering common services across Windows Server System products, including services designed to support and implement Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative. Lees detailed the first delivery of that plan, the Common Engineering Criteria for 2005, a set of capabilities that will be available in all Microsoft Windows Server System servers released after Jan. 1, 2005. Microsoft also announced additional Windows Server System innovations that, combined with the Common Engineering Roadmap, reduce the complexity of IT. Finally, Lees announced the June 1 launch of an expanded and enhanced product support life-cycle policy. The updated policy will provide customers with a minimum total of 10 years of mainstream and extended support for business and developer products.
“The hundreds of IT professionals I have talked to tell me that the lack of integration across IT causes complexity, cost and pain, hindering their ability to focus on solving business problems proactively,” Lees said. “The establishment of the Common Engineering Criteria will reduce the complexity of IT integration and deliver a consistent set of server capabilities, enabling IT professionals to do more with less. We believe that we are in a unique position to deliver this value to our customers.”
Delivering on the Vision of Windows Server System: Common Services
The initial element of the common services architecture roadmap, Lees said, is the Windows Server System Common Engineering Criteria for 2005. These capabilities will be supported by Microsoft and industry partners to aid IT professionals in delivering increased business value and providing more secure, efficient and uninterrupted service across the organization. Lees highlighted several of the Criteria, including these:
*Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) Management Pack support. Customers will be able to use the power of MOM 2005 to remotely manage and monitor Windows Server System servers. Management Packs will be available at product release, and will be updated on the same schedules as the products.
*Support for Windows Installer and Windows Update with transaction capabilities. Beginning in 2005, all members of Windows Server System will support the ability to install and update with the consistent technologies of Windows® Installer and Windows Update, and both of these will support transaction capabilities so IT professionals can quickly roll back the changes if necessary.
*Architectural guidance, best practices support and training. Windows Server System products will offer comprehensive training and prescriptive guidance at the time of release so IT professionals can immediately begin using them in a prescriptive, powerful and tested manner. This element of the Common Engineering Criteria represents Microsoft’s commitment to providing the consistent and comprehensive support and training customers need to be successful, all available at product release.
“By looking across our business and thinking about how to use software to solve core business problems, we have been able to gain tremendous value from Windows Server System technologies,” said John Minnick, manager, Technology Development at Siemens AG. “The Windows Server System Common Engineering Criteria 2005 are a big step forward because they provide a clear set of capabilities across all the server products, thereby reducing the complexity of our IT environment and enabling our IT department to focus on driving business value.”
Windows Server System: Driving Innovations and Reducing Complexity
In addition to announcing the Windows Server System Common Engineering Roadmap and Criteria, Microsoft unveiled new offerings and resources aimed at reducing complexity for customers. They include these:
*Windows Server System Infrastructure Environment. Further reducing the complexity related to deploying and managing applications, the Windows Server System Infrastructure Environment provides a complete set of guidelines, solution guidance, patterns and practices for building solutions based on Windows Server System. Included in the Infrastructure Environment is the Windows Server System Reference Architecture, previously known as the Microsoft Solutions Architecture.
*General availability of Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 Feature Pack. Through integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, the Windows Storage Server 2003 feature pack enables customers to store Exchange database and log files on network attached storage (NAS) devices. By combining this data along with other file and print serving, overall storage can be consolidated by as much as 50 percent. In addition, the feature pack includes support from industry leaders such as EMC Corp., Dell Inc., HP, CommVault Systems Inc., Dantz Development Corp., Computer Associates International Inc., LEGATO Software, NSI Software Inc. and VERITAS Software Corp., providing customers with a wider choice of solutions to meet their specific needs.
*Best Practices Analyzer Tool for Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Available today, the Best Practices Analyzer for Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000 provides database administrators (DBAs) with best practices and recommendations from the Microsoft SQL Server development team to enable them to more easily and effectively manage their SQL Server installations. This innovative new tool also includes a series of system checks to help customers prepare for SQL Server 2005. The Best Practices Analyzer will be used across Windows Server System environments to ensure that customers are developing the best applications possible in a more efficient manner.
*Native encryption available with SQL Server 2005. By supporting native data encryption with SQL Server 2005, Microsoft will provide customers with a higher level of enterprise security. By incorporating encryption into the database, customers will be able to more effectively protect their corporate data and restrict unauthorized access to data files.
*Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) for Exchange Server 2003. IMF, available to all Exchange Server 2003 customers, is designed to work as a component of an overall anti-spam and anti-virus solution, and complements existing enterprise server-based content filters from industry partners. IMF reduces unsolicited or junk e-mail in messaging environments by providing new capabilities that increase protection and resiliency of the messaging infrastructure, and delivers innovative e-mail protection, security and hygiene solutions to meet customer demands.
Manageability Remains a Top Priority
During his keynote address, Lees underscored Microsoft’s commitment to lessening the management burden on IT departments by highlighting the importance of Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) in improving the manageability and security of Windows Server System. The DSI is a broad effort on the part of Microsoft, in combination with other IT industry leaders, to build a comprehensive set of solutions on the Windows platform that help simplify and automate the design, deployment and operations of the increasingly complex and distributed computing systems that businesses need today.
As part of his call to action, Lees announced a combined total $10 million product giveaway for all Tech•Ed attendees. Each attendee will receive one free copy of Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 “Express” release candidate code, and a voucher for the final version of MOM 2005 “Express,” which can be redeemed after its release to manufacturing.