Windows Server to get orchestration features

The next version of Microsoft's Windows Server operating system will include business process orchestration features to allow users to link together Web services, among other tasks, without the need for additional middleware.

The technology will be lifted from BizTalk Server, according to Valerie Olague, director of Windows Server System marketing at Microsoft. BizTalk Server is Microsoft's product designed to help companies integrate disparate business applications and connect to business partners.

"We're baking common process orchestration into the infrastructure, taking it from BizTalk Server," Olague said in a speech Thursday at the company's campus.

Olague also previewed a new advertising campaign that will kick off Feb. 9 to promote Microsoft's Windows Server System. The US$20 million-plus campaign will spotlight Microsoft customers Toyota Motor Corp., Motorola, Reuters and Siemens.

Microsoft has shared few details of its plans for a new Windows Server product, which is expected after the company releases the next Windows client, code-named Longhorn, probably in 2006. The Windows Server version of Longhorn will include Web services middleware code-named Indigo, which Olague said will include the orchestration technology.

Microsoft, together with IBM and BEA Systems, last year proposed a standard for Web services choreography with orchestration support called Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS). The new BizTalk Server 2004, due out in the coming months, also supports for BPEL4WS.

"There is core BizTalk orchestration capability that we're going to put into the OS," Olague said in an interview after her presentation.

The addition of orchestration features makes sense as part of the plans for the Indigo Web services layer in Longhorn, said Shawn Willett, a principal analyst with Current Analysis.

By putting basic Web services related infrastructure software in the operating system, Microsoft is trying to "co-opt" the market for Web services middleware, which includes players such as BEA, webMethods, Tibco Software and SeeBeyond Technology, Willett said.

Orchestration capability would be a welcome addition to the operating system, said Bill Evjen, technical director at Reuters America, a Windows Server and BizTalk Server user.

"The more you can put in the core operating system the better. Then we would not have to add another box to the architecture," he said. "It is easier to manage, requiring a more singular skill set. Right now we have a BizTalk guy."

Microsoft in the past adopted capabilities from BizTalk Server in the Windows server product -- message queuing, for example -- but this does not mean that BizTalk capabilities will be absorbed in the server operating system, Olague said.

"The OS is the place where these common kind of services need to reside. The focus for BizTalk is in more specialized areas. Orchestration is very general," she said.

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