Cowboys and Indians
Redmond’s not-so-secret plan to shoo those pesky Apaches away.
Remember back in the dark ages (say, 1992) when Windows was Windows?
Whether you were running a client or a server, you bought and installed
Windows 3.1. Well, maybe you were one of the six people who actually ran
LAN Manager; if so, Auntie figures you’ve moved on to more cutting-edge
things, like interfacing your mobile phone with your refrigerator for
grocery lists on-the-go.
But back to Windows. Nowadays, of course, each release calls for multiple
versions. Take the operating system formerly known as “Whistler,” for
example. We’ve already gotten XP Home and XP Pro out of that deal, and
now the servers are on the way. I was checking out the specs on the Windows
.NET Web site the other day, in between my morning half-caf latte and
my afternoon jazzercise. Sure enough, Standard Server, Enterprise Server
and Datacenter Server are barreling down the beta-test pipe. But what’s
this? Yet another new version! Yes, this time we get to deal with Windows
.NET Web Server as well.
So what’s in Windows .NET Web Server? More important, you should ask
what’s not in it: no IAS, no Internet Connection Sharing, “partial support”
for Active Directory, no removable and remote storage, no Mac connectivity,
no RIS, no Terminal Server… The list goes on. It appears that this is
.NET Server stripped down to just IIS 6.0, the .NET Framework, and the
essential bits to support them. Microsoft is plugging this new version
as optimized for Web serving and hosting and “managed with a browser-based
interface from a remote workstation.” The Web page for it is full of words
like “dependable,” “revolutionary” and “secure.”
costing $0 and Windows 2000 Server listing at $999, it’s no
surprise that many enterprises go with the open-source alternative
for their Web hosting.
Sure, Microsoft just decided that we MCSEs can’t figure out for ourselves
what parts of the standard server to leave out when we’re setting up a
Web site, so they’ve come up with a new edition. And if you believe that,
you can skip the rest of the column and just go write Auntie a check for
that nice bridge over the East River.
Think back to last September. Ask your Ouija board to tune in the Gartner
Group’s John Pescatore. Remember his post-Nimda pronouncement: “Gartner
recommends that enterprises hit by both Code Red and Nimda immediately
investigate alternatives to IIS, including moving Web applications to
Web server software from other vendors, such as iPlanet and Apache.” Then
take a look at the latest numbers from Netcraft’s Web Server Survey. Apache
continues its own long-term lead of running about twice as many Web servers
as IIS, despite everything that the Redmond marketing machine has tried.
Of course, with Apache costing $0 and Windows 2000 Server listing at
$999, it’s no surprise that many enterprises go with the open-source alternative
for their Web hosting. Along with the usual marketing hoopla at the product
launch, expect to see some heavy-duty marketing of Windows .NET Web Server
as a “great” or “best-of-breed” Web server. Expect a round of benchmarks
proving that Windows .NET Web Server is faster than Apache. Expect sly
insinuations that you probably can’t get a date if your Web server doesn’t
support Passport authentication and XML Web Services. And above all, expect
proof that the Total Cost of Ownership, the dread TCO, is lower for Windows
.NET Web Server than for Apache. Heck, they’re practically giving it away!
I don’t know what the price will be, but it doesn’t take a crystal ball
to know it’ll be a lot less than $999.
So, do you feel served (pardon the pun) by having one more version of
Windows to learn about? Or are you doing the serving? As for moi, Fabio
is serving dinner. The salmon canapés just showed up, so I’m out of here
until next time!
Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.