Microsoft is boosting its family of server products, adding improved business intelligence and storage capabilities.
Details of enhancements to its SQL Server 2000 and storage servers emerged from its TechEd developers conference in Dallas this week.
The company is adding reporting capabilities to its SQL Server 2000 database software. SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services will enable users to easily build reports, based on the analytical capabilities of SQL Server.
"This is traditionally a very high-cost area for firms. But with Reporting Services we will be able to address that demand with a commodity-type product," said Keith Burns, systems engineer at Microsoft UK.
The release marks Microsoft's first serious move into the reporting market, sparking serious competition among reporting vendors, said Philip Howard, data warehousing practice leader at analyst Bloor Research.
He believes Microsoft could turn it into a commodity market, forcing vendors to cut their prices.
It is anticipated that the company will make Reporting Services available as part of the SQL Server 2000 licence, but this had not yet been confirmed.
Currently in beta testing, SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services is due to ship by the end of the year.
Microsoft also said that it would be releasing its Windows Storage Server to manufacturers this month, and expects it to be available through original equipment manufacturers by September.
Storage Server replaces its file server technology, Windows Powered Network Attached Storage (Nas).
Storage specialists such as Hewlett Packard, EMC, IBM, and Dell have all produced products based on Windows Powered Nas, and are expected to follow suit with Windows Storage Server.
New features include support for clustering of Nas devices, point-in-time copying, and file replication.
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