Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday released the ninth .Net Enterprise Server, the Content Management Server 2001.
The server allows IT managers to turn over to end users the task of updating and publishing information to a Web site. Users can create content, enter it into a workflow process and have it published to a Web site without having to go through IT or Web site developers. The server will be closely aligned with Microsoft's Commerce Server 2000, which is used for building Web storefronts.
Content management has been sorely lacking from Microsoft's software lineup. In April, the company bought NCompass Labs Inc., the Vancouver-based developer of Resolution. The software was quickly repackaged and introduced in June as Content Management Server at Microsoft's annual Tech Ed Conference in Atlanta.
The server adds to the stable of .Net Enterprise Servers, including Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 and Mobile Information Server 2001.
"NCompass had a good, strong product and was a natural upgrade for customers that had built a Microsoft environment," says Connie Moore, an analyst with the Giga Information Group. "It is a mid-range product and a strong acquisition for Microsoft." But Moore said other content management platforms such as Interwoven, Vignette and Documentum still represent the high end of Web content management.
Microsoft officials said Content Management Server would become a key piece of Microsoft's application infrastructure offerings, which include messaging, collaboration and the SQL Server database. It also will become a cog in Microsoft's .Net strategy of making software available over the Internet.
".Net is all about getting online, and Content Management Server is important for managing Web site content and the publishing of that content," says Chris Ramsey, product manager of Content Management Server.
Content Management Server includes cluster support that is compatible with Microsoft's Application Center 2000 Server, which is used to manage multi-server Web sites.
Content Management Server also has versioning and revisioning features that track changes to the content, objects and code that make up a Web site.
Content is stored on SQL Server 7.0 or 2000 and relies on Active Directory to assign access rights to authors, editors and template developers.
The server runs on Windows 2000 and is priced at US$39,901 per CPU (central processing unit).