Microsoft Unveils 'Blueprint' For Distributed Apps - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Unveils 'Blueprint' For Distributed Apps

Microsoft yesterday introduced its "blueprint" for building distributed applications in manufacturing environments.

Called the Distributed interNet Applications (DNA) architecture for Manufacturing, the blueprint consists of a "conceptual model and a set of guidelines" for building and deploying manufacturing applications that will run primarily on Windows NT and Windows 2000, according to Microsoft technical documents.

Microsoft first announced DNA as a generic distributed applications architecture at its Professional Developers Conference in San Diego in September 1997. Since that time, the company has made announcements of DNA for specific industries, including finance and investing, banking, insurance, and health care.

A key component of Microsoft's DNA strategy is the use of communications technologies based on its Component Object Model, and an upcoming enhanced version called COM+. COM provides communications over the network between distributed applications that are transparent to both programmers and users. When COM+ arrives in Windows 2000, it will add further features such as automatic support for transactions and message queuing.

At yesterday's DNA for Manufacturing event in Seattle, a slew of vendors of manufacturing software unveiled immediate support or intent to support the architecture in their products. These include Aspen Technology, Baan, Camstar Systems Cincom Systems, Compaq, J.D. Edwards, Ernst & Young, Honeywell, Iconics, Intellution, Macola Software, Marcam Solutions, National Instruments, OLE for Process Control, Rockwell Automation, SAP, Sequencia, Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems, Symix Systems, USData, and Wonderware.

Among the benefits touted by Microsoft and its vendor partners is the ability to link factory floor systems to the rest of the enterprise, including direct connections between manufacturing systems and enterprise resource planning systems, says Marcus Schmidt, Microsoft's industry marketing manager for manufacturing.

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