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3 Microsoft E-Business Servers Combined to Form "Jupiter"

Microsoft Corp. will consolidate Commerce Server, BizTalk Server and Content Management Server into one set of technologies code-named "Jupiter" that will be released in two stages in 2003 and 2004, the company disclosed Tuesday during the opening keynote of the MEC 2002 conference in Anaheim, Calif.

"The 'Jupiter' vision aims to enable the connected business by bringing Microsoft's current e-business servers together into a more unified environment," Microsoft explained in a statement.

The current versions of the products are Commerce Server 2002, BizTalk Server 2002 and Content Management Server 2001. Microsoft announced this week that Content Management Server 2002 will ship by the end of the year.

"Jupiter will be the next release after Commerce Server 2002, BizTalk Server 2002 and Content Management Server 2002," says David Kiker, general manager of Microsoft e-business servers. "We will provide an upward migration path to Jupiter in 2003 and 2004." Pricing has not been set.

The first step in Microsoft's two-step plan to release the "Jupiter" technologies will occur in the second half of 2003 with the delivery of process automation, workflow, integration technologies, an integrated developer experience and support for the Business Process Execution Language for Web services (BPEL4WS), which Microsoft officials described as an industry-standard replacement for Microsoft's XLANG. Most of those technologies map to the functionality of the current BizTalk Server 2002 product.

Step two of the "Jupiter" plan is to roll out functionality in the first half of 2004 evolved from what Microsoft includes in Commerce Server 2002 and the upcoming Content Management Server 2002. Those technologies include content management, commerce services, catalog management, campaign management, site management, site analytics, targeting, personalization and an integrated information worker experience.

Commerce Server is the oldest server of the bunch, having arrived in mid-2000 as an outgrowth of Site Server, Commerce Edition. BizTalk Server also launched in 2000. It connects to legacy applications via adapters and accelerators and produces XML on the front end to connect applications inside and across the firewall. BizTalk also includes workflow and business process technologies. Microsoft acquired the technology for Content Management Server by acquiring the COM-based Resolution 4.0 from nCompass Solutions.

All of the products have large, high-profile production customers but BizTalk Server and Content Management Server are new enough to the market that there's not enough of a customer base to be seriously disrupted by a product line shakeup. Earlier this year, Microsoft claimed about 800 customers for BizTalk Server, and the latest company statements show nearly 700 customers for Content Management Server.

The move would greatly reduce the number of .NET Enterprise Servers, which currently include Application Center, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Content Management Server, Exchange Server, Internet Security & Acceleration Server, Microsoft Operations Manager, Mobile Information Server, SharePoint Portal Server and SQL Server. Mobile Information Server is already slated for retirement with its functionality being divvied up into next generation versions of Exchange and ISA.

According to Kiker, the goal of Jupiter is to reduce complexity for developers and IT by providing an integrated set of e-business technologies. Jupiter developers will also focus on tighter integration any place the software touches other components in the Microsoft stack, especially SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft Operations Manager and Office.

About the Author

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

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