Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000, which controls the exchange of ebusiness documents, may not ship this year as expected, the company has admitted.
The server, which was originally supposed to ship last year but is still in beta, could now be the last component of Microsoft's Distributed Internet Architecture (DNA) development tools suite to hit the market.
The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) based product was due to debut in beta form in the middle of last year, but was pushed back until December 1999. Even then, only components of the server were delivered to beta testers, not the entire product.
Dave Reed, general manager of the Application Server Technology Group at Microsoft, told vnunet.com at the company's TechEd Europe developer conference in Amsterdam this week, that BizTalk Server was the one component out of seven within Windows DNA which was "at risk" of not shipping this year.
The delay will be bad news for customers such as Marks & Spencer, which is a reference site for BizTalk, and is planning to roll out the product with Windows 2000 as a core component of its ebusiness systems.
Jon Collins, a senior analyst at Bloor Research, said that even by the standards set by Windows 2000, Microsoft is keeping the market waiting an uncomfortably long time for the product.
BizTalk Server is one of a set of services designed to build DNA-based ecommerce and web applications targeted towards reusable internet development and integration. Other products in the range include Application Center 2000, Commerce Server 2000, Host Integration Server 2000, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000, Exchange Server 2000 and SQL Server 2000.
At their core, the products are heavily based on XML, which is also a foundation stone of Microsoft's .Net platform.
Encouraging developers to build applications based on DNA was a key theme at TechEd. To promote this, DNA products feature a consistent programming model based on Microsoft technologies, such as the use of the scripting model and Active Server Pages of Internet Information Server, and middleware such as Microsoft Messaging Queue and Com+.
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