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SAN DIEGO—If you thought Microsoft was tightly integrating its products before, wait until you see what it’s planning to do in the future.

Taking the company’s “integrated innovation” charge a step further, Andy Lees, the Microsoft corporate VP in charge of server and tools marketing, focused his Tuesday morning TechEd 2004 keynote here on the company’s plans to deliver a common set of services across its entire Windows Server System family.

This new set of services is detailed in a plan called the “Common Engineering Roadmap.” These common services will reduce complexity and provide customers with a standard set of “criteria” which will be available for all the Windows Server System products going forward, Lees said.

In short, the new services will insure that Microsoft’s own products work better together, according to Lees.

Windows Server System products include Windows Server, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Content Management Server, Exchange Server, Host Integration Server, Identity Integration Server, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Microsoft Operations Manager, SharePoint Portal Server, SQL Server, Systems Management Server and Storage Server.

Examples of the kinds of services that Microsoft is planning to make common across its products:

  • Management packs for all Windows Server System products that will allow them to be managed by Microsoft Operations Manager 2005;
  • Windows Installer and Windows Update support for all Windows Server System products; and
  • Consistent methodologies and prescriptive guidance support for all members of the Windows Server System family.

    Lees made a number of other new product announcements during his hour-and-a-half presentation. Among them:

  • Microsoft’s decision to extend lifecycle support from seven years to ten years for all of its business software. (The company is not grandfathering in NT 4.0, officials said. Microsoft support for that product still is set to expire December 31, 2004.)
  • General availability of the first feature pack for Windows Storage Server 2003. The feature pack adds support for Exchange database and log files.
  • Native encryption support for SQL Server 2005 (code-named Yukon), as well as a new Best Practices Analyzer tool that will assist customers in upgrading to Microsoft’s latest database release when it ships next year.
  • A new junk-mail filter, called Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) which Microsoft will introduce for its Exchange Server 2003 product.

    Lees spent most of his keynote running through demonstrations intended to show how an integrated family of products can help customers manage costs, keep their businesses running and deliver business value.

    Throughout the demonstrations, Lees and his team members demonstrated an early version of “R2,” the version of Windows Server that is due to ship in 2005. R2 has still not yet reached the beta test stage.

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