RealTime IT News

Microsoft Finally Bows .NET Server

A core piece of Microsoft's .NET strategy is beginning to unfold, as the software titan announced Wednesday that its Windows .NET Server operating system has reached Release Candidate 1 (RC1) status.

Microsoft will make the code available to third-party testers beginning Thursday, while customers will be able to preview it beginning next week.

The RC1 milestone suggests that Microsoft is satisfied with the engineering, development and testing it has performed on the code, and is ready for others to test it prior to its release to manufacturing.

Microsoft has already delivered the .NET Framework and development tools, but the missing piece has been the server operating system to support developers in creating and deploying .NET-based Web services.

"Windows .NET Server represents a second-generation product based on the Windows 2000 code base, and customers can expect for Microsoft to deliver across-the-board improvements to the product," said Al Gillen, research director, system software, IDC. "The release candidate brings Microsoft's customers a significant step closer to being able to deploy Windows .NET Server, so they can take advantage of both the operational benefits integral to the product and the ability to more easily develop, host and consume Web services."

The RC1 code builds on Windows 2000 Server with native support for the .NET Framework, Enterprise UDDI Services, expanded support for 64-bit processing, broader inclusion of eight-way clustering, and support for non-uniform memory access , or NUMA. It also features IIS 6.0 .

Additionally, though Microsoft has in the past been criticized for releasing software before its fully tested, the Redmond, Wash. company is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to RC1.

"By the end of this week, 50 percent of the Microsoft.com Web farm -- one of the most-visited Web sites on the Internet -- is slated to be running on Windows .NET Server, and 100 percent of the Microsoft Web site is slated to be live on Windows .NET Server within the next few weeks," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

A fully functional preview of the RC1 code is available here.

-- Written and reported by Thor Olavsrud and Bob Liu.