Microsoft touts Web apps boost through new OS

Microsoft's Web Platform for developing and deploying Web applications is being bolstered by the imminent shipment of Windows Server 2003 R2, a company official said on Tuesday.

Through the new OS and other recent products such as Visual Studio 2005, the Web Platform supports high-volume Web sites, increases developer productivity and improves security, according to Brian Goldfarb, lead product manager for Web Platform and Tools at Microsoft. 64-bit computing support in the OS is a critical boon to the performance of Web applications, the company said.

Web development is boosted through inclusion of the ASP.Net 2.0 and .Net Framework 2.0 development technologies in the new OS, Goldfarb said. Previously, a separate download was required for these technologies.

Microsoft defines its Web Platform as containing ASP.Net 2.0 and Net Framework 2.0, along with Windows Server, Internet Information Services 6.0, and Windows SharePoint Services. The SQL Server 2005 database and Visual Studio 2005 also are part of the platform.

"Today, with the launch of Windows Server 2003 R2, we're taking another step forward in delivering on the Web Platform vision," Goldfarb said. The Web Platform is for applications such as e-commerce, business-to-business, intranet, and collaboration.

ASP.Net 2.0 is a component of .Net Framework 2.0. This combination offers increased developer productivity, improved performance and scalability, enhanced security and improved management and administration, Goldfarb said.

"People who are making investments on .Net Framework 2.0 development will reap the benefits of a simplified deployment situation with Windows Server 2003 R2," Goldfarb said.

The Internet Information Services 6.0 Web server featured in the OS has been enhanced with 64-bit support. This provides access to more memory and scalability for applications, Goldfarb said. "In high-performance scenarios, it's very, very important."

64-bit computing translates to needing fewer servers, requiring less management and lower licensing costs, Goldfarb said. Also included in Internet Information Services is a Web-security configuration wizard for setting security levels in Web applications.

Support for 64 bits in ASP.Net 2.0, meanwhile, has enabled MySpace.com, which runs a high-volume social networking portal, to consolidate operations from approximately 100 multiprocessor systems to 33 of these systems, said Aber Whitcomb, CTO at MySpace.com. The company has been using ASP.Net 2.0 with an earlier version of Windows.

"With 64-bit hardware, you can increase your memory footprint from 4GB on a single server to in our case, up to 16GB, but you can go a lot further than that," Whitcomb said. MySpace.com describes itself as the third most trafficked site on the Internet, with 11.5 billion page views in October alone.

SharePoint Services in the new OS includes Active Directory Federation Services to boost collaboration, Goldfarb said. Customers and suppliers inside and outside the firewall can access information through a single credential management solution.

Goldfarb noted that the Nov. 7 release of the Visual Studio 2005 developer tool platform and SQL Server 2005 database are critical parts of Microsoft's application-platform story. A member of Microsoft's Visual Studio team, John Rivard, however, has posted a blog that explains why Visual Studio 2005 only supports .Net Framework 2.0 and not the previous 1.0 and 1.1 versions of the framework.

"Every version of Visual Studio that we've released has been tied to a specific version of the framework," Goldfarb said when asked about the blog.

"By doing that, we're able to provide greater productivity features and even more tools enhancements for customers that are specific to a given framework," he said. Users can continue to use older versions of the framework with older tools, or upgrade to the new framework using a migration wizard, Goldfarb added.

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