MCS Signs on With Microsoft to Speed Up W2K Deployment

Microsoft Corp. has announced a strategic licensing agreement with Mission Critical Software Inc. (MCS, where Microsoft will license Mission Critical's Domain Migrator technologies, currently part of Mission Critical's OnePoint suite, for use with the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server operating system.

Not just selling the software alongside W2K, Microsoft will integrate its features into Active Directory, make a snap in for the Microsoft Management Console and hope to provide users with more motivation to start the migration sooner.

One of the attractive features in Active Directory is "clone technology" or the ability to recognize domains in NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 simultaneously. "This way," explains Peter Houston, Microsoft product manager for Active Directory, "you can deploy Windows 2000 and keep NT 4 on and you don't have to consider this as throwing a big switch." AD will allow administrators to model the new domain structures until their comfortable and then actively start the new domain. MCS has adopted this technology in its Domain Migrator.

Domain Migrator also has the ability to combine forests of domain structures which makes an event such as a merger or acquisition much simpler to handler. It also includes a "prune and graft" feature that has the ability to prune a directory tree and graft it to another part of the structure.

With more time, Microsoft may have decided to attempt to develop this sort of technology on its own, but, as Houston explains, MCS has the technology now, and Microsoft doesn't want to disappoint when it comes time for Windows 2000 to be unleashed later this year. "We have to offer the functionality for them to deploy sooner rather than later. We think that not only are we doing that but we're responding to user feedback quickly," Houston says. "We do have a commitment to ship [Windows 2000]."

He adds that while Microsoft has promised its customers it won't be adding new bells and whistles to the oncoming train, the company felt that by partnering with Mission Critical, Windows 2000 is able to adopt these functionalities right away so Microsoft can get to the station on time.

The two companies are presently touring through several cities to present seminars on strategies for migrating to Windows 2000 and Active Directory using AD as the "meta-directory" of the enterprise. More information is available on the MCS Web site.

Microsoft has been actively gearing up for what could be a final OS release in October. Yesterday the company announced the Application Specification for Microsoft Windows 2000, giving developers a roadmap for developing apps that will utilize the benefits of the new platform. Last week, Redmond invested $125 million into Inprise Corp. ( to expand the range of development tools for Windows 2000.

And two weeks ago, Microsoft announced version 2.5 of the Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI), which enables developers to prepare applications for the release of Active Directory in the Windows 2000 Server.

"I've been the product manager for Active Directory for a year now and it is getting exciting," Houston expounds. "As we work with customers who are getting really excited to deploy, we are listening to them and asking them what it's going to take for them to deploy. This is a good example of Microsoft hearing, listening and responding quickly." -- Brian Ploskina

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