Microsoft takes the wraps off ‘trustworthy’ Server 2003

TORONTO — Announcing its first operating system launched in the new world of ‘trustworthy computing,’ Microsoft Canada Co.‘s president Frank Clegg Thursday unveiled Windows Server 2003.

Windows Server 2003, which Clegg admitted

was originally to be launched four months ago, was held back to focus on security issues.

“”The decision was made to stop production and have the 5,000 people working on it scrub every single line of code. This is a big first step in the journey of trustworthy computing, which we see as very important,”” Clegg said, referring to a company-wide directive initiated by Microsoft Corp.‘s chief software architect, Bill Gates.

The resulting product has been designed for greater dependability, improved productivity, increased connectivity and aligning IT spending with business value, Clegg said, noting that enterprises are in a stage of IT fatigue.

“”They want more than a promise of business benefit.””

Touting the slogan “”Do more with less,”” Clegg introduced the new products alongside executives from partner companies including Intel of Canada Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co.

Paul Tsaparis, Canadian president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, admitted their interest in the success of the newly-launched server is as a customer as well as a partner.

“”Next to Microsoft, HP is the second largest Windows server environment in the world. We have over 140,000 employees worldwide that depend on this infrastructure and backbone,”” he said.

An early customer for Windows Server 2003 is Vancouver-based Intrawest Corp. Philip De Connick, systems architect of the company which develops and operates resorts across North America and Europe, said they were able to reduce the number of security/domain servers from 153 to 30 and have not yet experienced any downtime.

“”We have less machinery, less people, less maintenance and less confusion,”” he said, while getting the “”right information to the right person in the right place.””

According to Microsoft Canada’s senior product manager for Windows servers, Kevin Hunter, Intrawest’s experience is in line with what most Canadian customers say that they want: consolidation, secure network access and manageability.

Fred Schwering, a director specializing in legacy migration at Fujitsu Consulting in Calgary, sees the combination of these attributes as an opportunity for enterprises to make the move to Windows Server 2003 and away from mainframe environments.

“”This is a good vehicle to take large mission critical applications and move them into an efficient and effective environment,”” Schwering said.

SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit), also launched Thursday, is a database and analysis platform for applications running on Itanium-based servers. This combined with the features of Windows Server 2003 is good news for enterprise customers, said Intel of Canada’s country manager, Doug Cooper.

“”This is really exciting because the Windows environment represents 80 per cent of the market, and so it really opens up the mainstream to Itanium. From an IT perspective, it’s an amazing opportunity because now there’s no artificial ceiling as to where you can use an Intel platform,”” Cooper said.

With the 64-bit architecture, Clegg asserted that any workload and any configuration can be easily handled.

The final product launched by Microsoft Thursday was Visual Studio .Net 2003. Lenny Louis, product manager for .Net developer tools at Microsoft Canada Co., said that the enhancements given to this tool set were inspired by the user community.

“”They have asked us to go beyond our products to help developers create secure applications, so we’ve done that,”” he said.

Visual Studio .Net 2003 supports 24 programming languages and has minimized the need to write code by automating several key functions.

“”By making developers more productive, they can accelerate their time to market,”” Louis said, noting that the tool reduces the developer’s learning curve, which in turn reduces costs. It also focuses on interoperability.

Schwering sees the combination of the products launched as covering all of Microsoft’s bases.

“”The challenge for Microsoft has always been scalability, interoperability, and security, but I think they’ve really addressed all of this with the new product set.””

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