Microsoft Corp.'s worldwide launch of Exchange 2000 next week will feature a host of partners pledging support for the messaging and collaboration platform.
Along with traditional Microsoft cronies such as Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp., the Redmond, Wash., software giant will use the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Dallas to tout newcomers such as IT Factory, a collaborative applications vendor that until now has worked exclusively with the Lotus Notes platform.
"Everybody uses Microsoft products like Office and knows what that's like," said Lars Johansen, IT Factory's founder, CEO, and president. "Getting on that familiar ground will make it easy for IT Factory to penetrate."
IT Factory, based in Cambridge, Mass., will release an XML-based suite of applications for Exchange in the first half of 2001, according to Johansen. By using Microsoft APIs, IT Factory's applications will leverage Microsoft products such as Conference Server, NetMeeting, and Exchange 2000's new Web Storage System, formerly called the Web Store.
After the three-day conference in Dallas, Microsoft will introduce Exchange 2000 with a series of local launch events across the United States through the fall, according to product manager Chris Baker.
Conference-goers will get their first look at a document management server, code-named Tahoe, that will offer users a Digital Dashboard-style portal for collaboration, indexing, advanced searching, beefed-up storage, and other capabilities. Microsoft hopes to ship Tahoe in early 2001.
Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM all will be on hand to unveil products, service, and support plans for Exchange 2000.
Compaq, for example, will announce Exchange-related partnerships with Ecora Wireless Messaging Solutions and Dialogic, as well as a new set of Exchange 2000 migration and integration services. Dell will emphasize its foray into the ASP (application service provider) market.
Other ISVs also will be out in full force.
Content Technologies will preview a new addition to its Mimesweeper family, Mailpreserver, an archiving technology for the Exchange environment.
"E-mail that has been removed from the Exchange Server can be put on Mailpreserver, which provides a secure archive, and that relieves the load from Exchange," said Bob Ferguson, business development director for the London-based company. "That relieves the load from Exchange, and where now you have administrators fighting with users to clean out their archives, this automates that process."
Ottawa, Canada-based FastLane Technologies will upgrade its DM/Suite deployment and management solution to support Exchange 2000 and Active Directory, said product manager Richard Khan.
An Exchange 2000 rollout "has a lot of factors and needs to be well-planned," Khan said. "If it's well-planned it can be fairly straightforward, but you don't want to be pulling triggers before everything is resolved and end up with not exactly the best situation and have to do cleanup afterwards."
BindView, in Houston, will release an update to its bv-Control for Microsoft Exchange 2000, a snap-in for the Microsoft Management Console that monitors the health and security of an Exchange environment, according to marketing program manager Bob Tesh.