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Microsoft Betas Windows 2000 Server Appliance Kit 2.0

OEMs and IHVs will be able to get Windows-based server appliances to market faster using new development tools from Microsoft Corp. Microsoft is preparing a second version of its development kit, enabling vendors to create stripped-down Windows 2000 servers.

Today, Microsoft released a beta of its Windows 2000 Server Appliance Kit 2.0, which builds on the functionality of its original Server Appliance Kit. OEMs and other hardware vendors use the kit as building blocks for building Web appliances, NAS devices, and other server appliances.

“The key benefit of 2.0 will be faster time to market,” says Kelly Meagher, product manager for embedded devices at Microsoft. Because Microsoft is including more functionality in the second version of its kit, OEMs will be able to design and certify appliances faster, since there will be less development work.

End users will be able to see some benefits of the new toolkit. For example, when new hardware hits the market, OEMs will be able to integrate and certify the new hardware faster, allowing users to use appliances with the latest hardware.

“The most important improvement is the Web [user interface],” says Meagher. With the first generation of appliances, each OEM had to design its own interface for end user appliance management. With the 2.0 release, Microsoft adds a standard management console, which OEMs may use at their discretion.

Meagher says that Microsoft has also added support for third party software, enabling OEMs to pre-load appliances with backup and recovery agents and virus software, allowing for a complete set of management tools. In addition, there is a toolkit for proprietary device drivers.

The server appliance kit also offers standard Windows 2000 features such as failover clustering, resource monitoring, and MMC snap in. Meagher says OEMs often disable some advanced features such as clustering when designing the final product.

Meagher says that Microsoft is still making decisions about appliance support for the Whistler time frame. While Redmond is hoping Whistler embedded will be a hit, she says that it is primarily a client environment today. “Its really too early to tell how it will play out,” she says. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

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

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