Microsoft's Roadmap Steers Toward the Present
Microsoft stayed away from laying out an ambitious roadmap for future technologies
at this year's Tech-Ed conference held last month, instead focusing on products
and issues IT shops face today -- at least ones that will be relevant by year's
One of those products was the long-awaited Windows Server 2008, formerly code-named
"Longhorn," due to ship by year's end. One capability executives clearly
emphasized is the operating system's ability to deploy variations of Windows
Server designed to handle very specific tasks, including Web hosting.
Another announcement was a plan to offer version 7.0 of Internet Information
Services Web Server as part of a Server Core installation option for Windows
Server 2008. In a third announcement, Redmond said it had acquired Engyro, a
Cincinnati-based developer. Prior to the deal, Microsoft carried out joint sales
engagements with Engryo so it could supply connectivity software to link its
management tools to applications built by third parties.
In his opening-day keynote speech, Bob Muglia, in charge of Microsoft's server
and tools business, offered details on the company's strategy for what he called
"Dynamic IT for the People-Ready Business." According to Muglia, Dynamic
IT builds on the company's Dynamic Systems Initiative intended to offer up "the
key areas of technical innovation necessary to make IT shops more important
to their overall business."
Muglia also talked about the company's emerging services-oriented architecture-like
strategy but appeared reluctant to actually use the phrase. He used terms closely
associated with service-oriented architecture (SOA) such as "agile,"
"user-focused," "service-enabled" but did not use the acronym
"The thing to think about here is that it's very focused on real-world
things," Muglia said. "It's about how we can deliver things in the
short run, but there's also a focus on long-term plans."
Microsoft isn't trying to avoid using the acronym, according to Steve Guggenheimer,
general manager of application platform and dev marketing. "The reason
we use service-enabled instead of SOA is I don't think SOA is encompassing enough,"
Microsoft has some customers who wish to SOA-enable legacy assets and existing
business processes to create composite applications, and others focused on applying
SOA through Web services and mashup-type development, according to Guggenheimer.
"We think about all of that as part of the service continuum," he
Muglia also took some time to describe Microsoft's "Software Plus Services"
strategy. "What we see as the future is that apps will have to be able
to reach out and interact with consumers of many types," he said in his
keynote. "We've been using .NET as a foundation for this...As we move forward,
we see services augmenting that environment, reaching all customers wherever
Micro Framework Updated
At Tech-Ed Microsoft also updated its .NET Micro Framework -- which debuted
this February -- announcing it had ported the framework to Analog Devices Inc.'s
Blackfin processors. For the first time, according to company officials, developers
with portable devices and multimedia applications can leverage both .NET and
Visual Studio, which they hope will quicken the design of small and low-power
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.