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Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the 2004 version of its Host Integration Server (HIS) product, which is designed to integrate IBM mainframes and servers with Windows systems.

The 2004 edition is the first update Microsoft has made to its mainframe-gateway product in four years.

“The goal with HIS is to help customers get the data that’s locked in their mainframes and AS/400 systems over to Windows, while maintaining interoperability,” said Tom Casey, product unit manager with Microsoft’s Business Process Integration division (formerly known as Microsoft’s e-business division).

HIS evolved from Microsoft’s old SNA Server product line. Microsoft officials said there are more than 10,000 HIS customers worldwide.

At one point, HIS was expected to become one component of Microsoft’s integrated e-business bundle, code-named “Jupiter.” But earlier this year, Microsoft decided to scrap its Jupiter-bundle plans, citing customer feedback as the reason.

As a result, HIS (one of the members of the Windows Server System family) will remain a standalone product—and one that Microsoft plans to continue to update for the foreseeable future, officials said.

Microsoft has added new integration features and functionality to HIS 2004 at the API, data, network, messaging and security levels, officials said.

Among the new features is a set of Transaction Integrator design tools that are Visual Studio .Net 2003 add-ins. These tools allow Windows developers to wrap existing CICS, IMS and AS/400 applications running on IBM mainframes or servers as Web services or Microsoft .Net server components.

Other new features include a managed provider for IBM’s DB2 database; T1 Host-Initiated Processing support; enterprise single sign-on for authenticating security credentials between Windows and non-Windows systems; and IP-DLC link services support.

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