Briefs: Continued life for Host Integration Server; IBM's WebSphere Host Integration Solution for iSeries; Exchange Server nears release

Microsoft will ship an updated Host Integration Server 2004 next year; IBM provides access to iSeries from virtually any client environment; Microsoft's flagship messaging server 6-8 weeks away

Host Integration Server Lives!by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of ENTMag.com)

LAS—Microsoft Host Integration Server, Microsoft's product for connecting Windows servers to mainframes and other so-called "legacy" systems, has seen its marketing budget killed and its development team slashed, yet the product keeps selling. In fact, Microsoft plans to ship an updated version, Host Integration Server 2004, next year.

As an extension of the mainframe industry, the product's ongoing existence mirrors the fate of the mainframe industry, which is repeatedly declared dead or dying, yet continues to chug reliably along.

"That's a great little product for us. It isn't exactly the most strategic thing on every customer's mind, but tactically it's very important. Customers who have mainframes deployed depend [on this product]," Paul Flessner, Microsoft senior vice president for Windows Server Systems, said in an interview at Microsoft's TechEd show this week.

Host Integration Server, the Windows 2000-generation successor to SNA Server, came out in 2000. Microsoft officials expected sales to dip as the company emphasized XML and BizTalk Server, with all its adapters, as more strategic ways to handle data transfers among heterogeneous systems.

"I thought they'd dip. But they kept going along. We don't market it. I took the development team down to a very small team. From a peak of about 80 people down to about 6. But it's still a very critical product to customers who want it," Flessner said.

Host Integration Server 2004 went into Beta 1 in March and Beta 2 is expected to come out this fall.

The product is expected to deliver new Windows-initiated capabilities, including a CICS client context, exposing host applications as .NET servers and exposing AS/400 applications as .NET or COM servers. On the host-initiated side, hosts will be able to invoke COM+ and .NET servers through HIS and hosts will listen for calls to CICS, IMS and AS/400 applications.

There is also work going on to support IBM's new mainframe networking stack and a new application integration designer that sits inside Visual Studio.

IBM Touts New Web-to-Host Solution for iSeries

IBM announced Version 3.1 of WebSphere Host Integration Solution for iSeries, a Web-to-host integration system for creating and deploying applications that interact with iSeries systems.

The new Web-to-host solution includes IBM's Communications Servers, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Host Publisher, WebSphere Host On-Demand, Personal Communications, WebSphere Studio Site Developer, and WebSphere Host Access Transformation Server.

Big Blue claims that WebSphere Host Integration 3.1 can provide access to iSeries from virtually any client environment.

The new version boasts a single pricing structure with one fixed price per registered or concurrent user, which is also independent of the total number of clients or servers.

WebSphere Host Integration 3.1 for iSeries is available now. See http://www.ibm.com/software/webservers for more information.

Exchange 2003 Enters RC1 Testing Stage by Scott Bekker(Courtesy of ENTMag.com)

DALLAS—Beating the drum for Exchange Server 2003's eventual launch, Microsoft on Monday at TechEd announced the availability of Release Candidate 1 of the company's flagship messaging server.

"This is the final milestone before release to manufacturing (RTM)," said Missy Stern, a Microsoft product manager for Exchange. "We expect to RTM somewhere in the neighborhood of six to eight weeks after RC1."

Exchange Server 2003, one of the first major applications to take advantage of security, storage and clustering enhancements in the recently released Windows Server 2003, was originally rumored to be on a schedule to ship at the TechEd show this week. The current schedule puts the release between July 14 and July 28.

Exchange Server 2003 RC1 is available for download at www.microsoft.com/exchange/evaluation. The Exchange RC1 download is compatible with the RTM version of Windows Server 2003, and customers will be able to upgrade directly to the Exchange 2003 RTM version when it ships.

Read the full story here: http://www.entmag.com/news/article.asp?EditorialsID=5829

IBM Touts New Web-to-Host Solution for iSeries

IBM announced Version 3.1 of WebSphere Host Integration Solution for iSeries, a Web-to-host integration system for creating and deploying applications that interact with iSeries systems.

The new Web-to-host solution includes IBM's Communications Servers, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Host Publisher, WebSphere Host On-Demand, Personal Communications, WebSphere Studio Site Developer, and WebSphere Host Access Transformation Server.

Big Blue claims that WebSphere Host Integration 3.1 can provide access to iSeries from virtually any client environment.

The new version boasts a single pricing structure with one fixed price per registered or concurrent user, which is also independent of the total number of clients or servers.

WebSphere Host Integration 3.1 for iSeries is available now. See http://www.ibm.com/software/webservers for more information.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.