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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Microsoft plans to introduce a single licence for its Jupiter suite of integrated e-business components that will eventually replace the existing Content Management Server 2002, Commerce Server 2002, and BizTalk Server 2002 products.

The company's e-business server lead product manager, Dave Wascha, revealed at Microsoft's IT Forum event in Copenhagen, Denmark that licensing for the new component suite will give customers access to all components in the suite for a single, per-processor price.

He also revealed that existing users of Content Management Server, Commerce Server, and BizTalk Server with Microsoft's Software Assurance license will be able to swap their existing licenses one-for-one with Jupiter licenses. That means that a current user of one of the three products will gain a license to the entire Jupiter component suite, and that a user that currently holds licenses for all three products will gain three licenses for the Jupiter replacement.

It's not that simple of course, Jupiter will be licensed per-processor and the more components customers take, the more processors they are likely to use. Nevertheless, Wascha said that most customers would pay less for the component suite than they do for the comparable functionality today, and added that while customers would have the license to all components, they would be able to choose which components they wanted to deploy.

Jupiter is Microsoft's project to integrate and componentized the functionality of its e-business products in order to reduce functionality overlap and increase flexibility of customer deployment. Due to be released in two phases, in the second half of 2003 and the first half of 2004, it is the result of two years of research into what customers, ISVs and systems integrators want from e-business products, said Wascha.

"We've done a good job of solving customers' problems in these individual product areas," he said. "But solving point problems is the solution of the 90s. The challenge now is to connect those things together."

To create the Jupiter components, Microsoft has brought its e-business product development teams together and focused them around functionality areas. Through this approach the company plans to reduce functionality overlap.

As an example Wascha said that Jupiter will produce a single workflow engine that will replace the current e-business product family's three separate engines. The new workflow engine, which will be based on the Business Process Execution Language (BLEP), will also eventually find its way into the Titanium version of Exchange, replacing a fourth separate Microsoft workflow engine.

Additionally the development tools for the BizTalk, Commerce and Content Management Server products will be moved into the Visual Studio.NET development environment, while there will also be integration with the company's Office desktop productivity software to enable, for example, real-time analysis of business processes through Excel making web service calls to the Orchestration Engine.

Components for process automation, workflow, integration, and BPEL support will be delivered in second half of 2003, followed by content management, commerce, catalog management, personalization, targeting, site analytics, site management, and campaign management in the first half of 2004. Integration between the components will be provided by APIs and a mirrored set of web service calls, while all components will have an integrated metadata repository.

© Computerwire

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