Microsoft has unveiled the roadmap for its Windows .Net Server family, and plans to make the third beta version of the server available to developers by the end of this month.
Due for release in the UK in the first half of next year, the servers will be easier to manage and faster than Sun Java 2 Enterprise Edition-based machines, Microsoft claimed, and they will also involve less code.
The products will include the .Net Data Center Server, which will support eight-way node clustering, and the .Net Enterprise Server, supporting four-node clustering. Both will support 32bit and 64bit processing models.
The .Net Standard Server will be aimed at smal to medium sized enterprises, while the .Net Web Server is aimed at hosting environments.
At the launch of.Net last year, Stephen Uden, head of channel marketing at Microsoft, claimed that the platform was a "good partner opportunity". The firm also said it has not ruled out future reseller training on .Net to ensure that partners can handle the technology.
Microsoft claimed that the new generation of Windows servers would provide the foundation for its platform for XML-based web services, allowing applications to share data over the internet.
"We have focused on three main areas in the .Net strategy: security, performance and scalability," said Bob O'Brien, group product manager for the Windows server division at Microsoft.
The focus on security is right, but Microsoft faces a challenge in convincing developers and end users, according to Alan Lawson, research analyst at Butler Group.
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