SMS and Proxy Server

Two BackOffice products that Microsoft offered little information on are Proxy Server and Systems Management Server (SMS), though perhaps for different reasons.

Microsoft officials were tight-lipped when discussing the fate of Proxy Server -- more so than with any other BackOffice component -- saying Proxy Server is at a point in the product’s lifecycle where there is little to discuss. The company said most of the news surrounding Proxy Server occurred in the past year. Microsoft officials declined to confirm that nothing new would happen with Proxy Server in the coming year.

Microsoft officials were willing to say the company plans to offer the Windows 2000 Update Wizard to Proxy Server 2.0 customers, enabling users to update Proxy Server 2.0 to run on Windows 2000. The wizard also includes all the updates on Proxy Server Service Pack 1.

Microsoft wasn’t as reserved about Systems Management Server, but the coming year looks to be a quiet one for the product. Mark Hassall, SMS product manager at Microsoft, says the prospects of seeing a new release of SMS before 2001 are slim.

"I’m not sure if [we’re going to ship it] within the year 2000 timeframe," Hassall acknowledges. "Typically we try to release new versions of BackOffice products every 12 to 18 months, but we’re concentrating on getting Windows 2000 out the door."

Hassall says Windows 2000 will be a boon to the SMS product family. The next version of SMS will be architected to take advantage of Windows 2000’s most significant manageability enhancements, such as Active Directory.

"Obviously our goal is to leverage Windows 2000, and there’s certainly a benefit to leveraging things like the Active Directory services within Windows 2000. The next SMS release will be designed to take advantage of those [enhancements]," Hassall says.

Until then, Hassall maintains SMS 2.0 will run as is on Windows 2000 machines.

"It will be a smooth ride right out of the box," he says. "SMS will not have to be modified when Windows 2000 ships, and you can certainly use SMS not only in a Windows 2000 environment but also in deploying Windows 2000."

Although there probably won’t be a new version of SMS this year, Microsoft is continuing to develop the product. "Things that could be enhanced are in the diagnostic area. Although we offer some capability in terms of remote control and monitoring, there are more things that we could do in terms of identifying problems, helping with problem resolution, and network control monitoring," Hassall says.