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Microsoft Enhances BackOffice Suite

ORLANDO – Microsoft Corp. today announced enhancements to the BackOffice Server 2000 suite here at TechEd.

Joel Sloss, product manager for BackOffice Server 2000 at Microsoft (www.microsoft.com), says that the overall theme of the suite remains the same.

BackOffice 2000, however, features a number of enhancements, such as Health Monitor 2.1, the MultiServer configuration option, BackOffice Server Management consoles, Remote Administration, Intranet Productivity Site, as well as new and updated suite integration tools, and wizards.

Health Monitor 2.1 enables IT to remotely monitor and troubleshoot servers in real time, and sends status reports via fax or e-mail. Remote Administrator allows the management of servers via a Web client, or as a direct-dial RAS connection.

Further improving management of the suite are the server management consoles. These consoles plug into the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and Active Directory. With the BackOffice consoles, users can delegate management, customize MMC consoles and simplify queries to the Active Directory.

Microsoft also opened up the licensing of the suite, if only a little. Instead of having to load all the components onto a single server, users can now distribute the components across two or three servers. Companies can organize their BackOffice components according to task, or across business lines, and all the tools are MultiServer-aware.

The suite ships with one instance of each component. So companies that want to multi-instance SQL Server 2000, for instance, will have to buy all instances beyond the first one. And companies that install the servers on different machines need another copy of Windows 2000 for each machine as well.

Sloss says Microsoft determined that three was the magic number by extensive research. In the case of most companies, whether they were staying within the licensing boundaries or not, BackOffice components were most commonly distributed across two or three machines.

To help companies deploy the products on multiple machines, Microsoft added an enhanced deployment wizard.

The new version of the suite also picks up all the updated applications and server components. Proxy Server, which was in previous versions of the suite, was replaced with the Internet Security and Accelerator Server (ISA) 2000 product that Microsoft announced today.

The suite, which Microsoft says will ship toward the end of this year, will be comprised of: Windows 2000 with SP 1, Exchange 2000 with Outlook 2000 service release 1, SQL Server 2000, Systems Management Server 2.0 with SP2, ISA, and Host Integration Server 2000. Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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