Microsoft solidifies software launch plans

Microsoft is planning a Nov. 7 launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 in San Francisco.

Microsoft Tuesday dribbled out more details of the planned Nov. 7 launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 at its TechEd 2005 Europe conference in Amsterdam.

The kickoff event will be Nov. 7 in San Francisco, followed by more than 90 events in 50 countries through the rest of the month, said Andy Lees, corporate vice president of Server and Tools Marketing, in his keynote address at the conference.

One Microsoft partner expects that while Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 will be available at launch time, BizTalk Server 2006 likely will be in beta with the full release available next year. "Don't expect it to come out in November," said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology for New York-based consulting firm and Microsoft partner Citigate Hudson.

A new version of Microsoft Commerce Server also should be in beta at the time of the November software launch, Brust added.

Microsoft previously has stated that it would roll out new versions of Visual Studio, SQL Server and BizTalk Server the week of Nov. 7, but did not disclose exactly where and on what date the launch event would take place.

At TechEd Europe Microsoft also released new report packs for SQL Server as well as technology and initiatives aimed at making its products more interoperable with other vendors' software, according to a press statement.

The SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Report Pack for Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 features eight predefined reports that provide a platform for monitoring the state of disk allocation, Web site usage and keyword searches, according to a press statement. The SQL Server Reporting Services Report Pack for Axapta 3.0 contains six predefined reports that allow users to see an overview of customer relationship activity, review order delivery performance, manage open production and sales orders, plan purchase orders, and track rolling invoice activity.

The new SQL Server report packs can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/sql/reporting/downloads/default.mspx.

In his keynote Lees also outlined new Microsoft investments in interoperability, including the beta release of a JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) driver that enables Java applications on any platform to interoperate with SQL Server 2005, according to a press statement. The SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver Beta 1 is available at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads/2005/jdbc.mspx.

Also in the interests of interoperability, Microsoft Tuesday unveiled a new program for ISVs (independent software vendors) that enables them to more easily integrate Active Directory with third-party products.

The Active Directory Interoperability Program features the Active Directory Password Change Notification Service for use by ISVs; a new third-party-developed OpenLDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) Management Agent for Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003 (MIIS); and new third-party support for Active Directory Federation Services, according to a press statement.

Microsoft has been working with Kernel Networks in France on the OpenLDAP Management Agent for MIIS. Kernel will make the technology freely available in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to a press statement. The new management agent will provide connectivity for commercial and noncommercial applications between MIIS 2003 and OpenLDAP 2.x-based directories.

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