Microsoft Launches Commerce Server 2002

The company delivers one more piece of its .Net strategy.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

April 9, 2002

2 Min Read

Microsoft added one more piece to its .Net strategy Tuesday by shipping Commerce Server 2002, highly scalable E-commerce software that analysts say may silence competitors who've claimed the company's products can't handle equal volumes of product listings and transactions.

Commerce Server 2002 "is up there with some of the best products in the market," says Shawn Willett, an analyst for Current Analysis. Willett says the software achieves high scalability through its support of resource-management services in Windows 2000, which links and manages multiple computer systems; through the increased performance in Intel processors that run Microsoft software; and through its support of the latest SQL Server database-management software. Microsoft claims the server can handle 5 million catalog entries.

The release is important for Microsoft's .Net strategy, enabling developers to use VisualStudio.Net, the latest version of Microsoft's application development tool suite, to build online buying and payment applications and other commerce components. Commerce Server also supports .Net technology in Microsoft's BizTalk Server integration software that connects to back-office applications, such as enterprise resource planning systems.

Commerce Server 2002 lets developers get to the software's functionality using the .Net Framework, a development and run-time environment for applications based on emerging Web services standards, including the Simple Object Access Protocol and XML; or through Microsoft's older Component Object Model interfaces. This is important since analysts expect Microsoft customers to continue using the older technology while gradually migrating to the new paradigm. .Net support "is not going to change anything overnight, but developers can start experimenting and using it for future development projects," says Yankee Group analyst Rob Perry. The next version of Microsoft's server operating system line, Windows.Net Server, is scheduled to ship by the end of the year with native support of the .Net Framework.

Other enterprise features in Commerce Server 2002 include the ability to distribute all or parts of a product catalog to Web sites in multiple languages and currencies. The software can also be linked to Microsoft Passport, the company's online service that provides users with single sign-on and authentication across multiple Web sites. Commerce Server 2002 sells for $6,999 per CPU for the standard edition and $19,999 per CPU for the enterprise edition. The former has a limit of two CPUs, while the latter can run on an unlimited number of CPUs.

Within the E-commerce software market, Microsoft considers its biggest competitors to be infrastructure vendors, such as BEA Systems, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems, that add portal, content-management, and commerce applications to their application servers. To better compete against these vendors, Willett says, Microsoft may have to eventually package Commerce Server with its portal software and BizTalk.

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