Windows Web Solutions UPDATE, April 8, 2003

Windows Web Solutions UPDATE, April 8, 2003


Windows Web Solutions UPDATE--brought to you by Windows Web Solutions, the Windows & .NET Magazine print newsletter with tools and solutions for managing your Web site.



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April 8, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - The Future of Microsoft Application Center

2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS - Creating Wildcard Certificates on a Web Site - Results from Last Issue's Instant Poll: MOM - This Issue's Instant Poll: Your IIS 6.0 Impressions

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join the HP and Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Microsoft ASP.NET Connections: Win a Harley Motorcycle

4. RESOURCES - Webcast: Isolating and Securing Web Applications in IIS 6.0 - Featured Thread: Disable Ctrl+N in IE

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Learn About Web Services' Capabilities - Submit Top Product Ideas

6. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.




(contributed by Tim Huckaby, [email protected])

* THE FUTURE OF MICROSOFT APPLICATION CENTER In my last commentary, I wrote about Microsoft's recently revealed long-term enterprise management strategy. At the Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft made numerous key announcements related to tools dedicated to application and system management for enterprises of all sizes. Microsoft addressed the following significant topics:

Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) is receiving great initial support throughout the industry. DSI's intent is to provide simplicity, automation, and flexibility to IT operations. Its mission is to unify hardware, software, and service vendors around common software architectures. DSI will provide the plumbing for a unified management architecture and is backed industrywide and supported by a number of successful companies in the system management space. DSI is similar to Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, which, at the Microsoft executive level, attempts to improve customers' experience in the areas of security, privacy, reliability, and business integrity. DSI's mission is to figure out how to unify the vision of managing enterprise environments.

Frank Artale, president and CEO of Consera Software, one of Microsoft's key DSI partners, summed it up by saying, "The ability to manage a truly dynamic system begins with strong software architecture. Microsoft is taking a leadership position with Dynamic Systems Initiative, enabling ISVs--Independent Software Vendors--to create products that support the architecture. Beginning with Automated Deployment Services, Consera and other leaders in enterprise management tools are leveraging this infrastructure to help customers better manage these sophisticated and complex environments."

The System Definition Model (SDM) is an XML-based blueprint that captures and unifies the operational requirements of applications and their dependencies and integration points. SDM is exciting in that it will define an explicit contract between development, deployment, and operations across the IT life cycle. Applications will describe themselves at the SDM level. SDM is an important enterprise component that will effectively virtualize a distributed system, making it easier to manage and deploy.

Automated Deployment Services (ADS) beta 1 is an administration tool that reduces server-provisioning complexity. ADS uses a subset of SDM specifically for server provisioning. ADS can automatically deploy hundreds of highly customized Windows Server system images across the environment in minutes, instead of days or weeks as is currently required.

Microsoft System Center is the future solution to provide complete application and system management capabilities for any size of enterprise. The first version of System Center will be a product suite, which comprises Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004 and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. The suite will eventually evolve into an integrated solution that builds on all aspects of the DSI, including the new SDM-based architecture.

MOM 2004, the next version of the event- and performance-management solution for Windows-based servers and applications, will enhance the existing MOM solution in many areas. New features include auto-alert resolution, state monitoring, topological views, an intuitive task-based operator console, broader management pack support, and enhanced reporting capability.

Since writing my last commentary, I talked with Bob Pulliam, Microsoft product manager and technology evangelist in the Enterprise Management Division, about the impact of Microsoft's product plans on the future of Microsoft Application Center2000. Application Center 2000 is a deployment and management tool for Web-based applications. It reduces the complexity of managing Web-based applications by facilitating management of the Web applications on an entire Web farm from one console. Microsoft's product announcements make it hard to speculate where Application Center 2000 fits in the mix, if at all. Pulliam said, "Application Center plays a key role in the management of today's Web applications. As Web applications and our Web infrastructure develop, the platform itself will assume the task of simplifying the deployment and scaling of these applications."

Ultimately, Application Center 2000 will become obsolete because its functionality will integrate into System Center and other applications. But such action is 4 to 5 years in the future--in the "Blackcomb" (the next version of Windows Server) timeframe. For now, Application Center 2000 will go into maintenance mode. Application Center Service Pack 2 (SP2) is shipping in the next 90 days and features fully integrated support for Windows .NET assemblies, IIS 6.0, and Windows Server 2003.




* CREATING WILDCARD CERTIFICATES ON A WEB SITE Question: My company hosts about 10 domains, each on its own Web site and each with a unique host name (e.g.,, To secure logon and data-transfer procedures, we'd like to add a certificate to each Web site. The IIS documentation says that IIS 5.0 supports a feature called wildcard certificates, which would let us have a certificate that responds to * so that we wouldn't need to purchase 10 separate certificates. We can create a certificate request with the common name * and successfully install it on a Web site. However, when we attempt to use to access a Web site, we get the message: "The name of this certificate does not match the name on the site." IIS 5.0 supports this feature, so what's the problem?

To find the answer, click the following link:

* RESULTS FROM LAST ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: MOM The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions channel's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "When does your enterprise plan to implement MOM?" Here are the results from the 29 responses: - 3% We already use MOM - 10% Within 6 months - 21% We will implement MOM in the future, but don't have a definite timeline - 66% We don't plan to use MOM

* THIS ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: YOUR IIS 6.0 IMPRESSIONS The next Instant Poll question is, "If you have worked with the beta version of IIS 6.0, what are your first impressions?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions home page and submit your vote for a) I'm extremely impressed. It adds a lot of new functionality, b) I'm somewhat impressed but need more convincing, c) I'm not impressed at all. It doesn't offer enhanced functionality.



(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* JOIN THE HP AND MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register today!

* MICROSOFT ASP.NET CONNECTIONS: WIN A HARLEY MOTORCYCLE Microsoft ASP.NET Connections + Visual Studio Connections + SQL Server Magazine Connections equals the largest gathering of Microsoft product architects and independent technology gurus. Get three conferences for the price of one! Attendees will have a chance to win a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and save hours of trial and error. Register today.



* WEBCAST: ISOLATING AND SECURING WEB APPLICATIONS IN IIS 6.0 April 11, 2003 11:30am to 1:00pm Pacific/2:30pm Eastern

Blain Barton, Microsoft Technology Specialist, and Vikas Malhotra present a Webcast about IIS 6.0 security architecture. The Webcast will provide you an overview about IIS 6.0 security features, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) improvements, authentication using Microsoft Passport, and constrained delegated authority. The session will also cover techniques and best practices for isolating Web sites in a large ISP environment. To enroll and find out more about this event, click the following URL:

For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Events Calendar.

* FEATURED THREAD: DISABLE CTRL + N IN IE Forum member "Pratap" wants to know how to disable the Ctrl+N option in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). To lend Pratap a helping hand, click the following URL:



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* LEARN ABOUT WEB SERVICES' CAPABILITIES LearnKey announced the ASP.NET Web Services Fundamentals course for developers who use ASP.NET to create Web services. The course teaches you how to create and consume ASP.NET Web services, how to describe a Web service for others' use, how Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) acts as transport for Web services, how to use the XML Schema standard to define and validate SOAP documents, how to use standards to solve common development problems, and how you can apply Web services to solve business problems. ASP.NET Web Services Fundamentals' 5-session course is now shipping on an interactive CD-ROM and will be available online in second quarter 2003. Pricing is $495 for a single-user and $1235 for multiple users. Contact LearnKey at 435-674-9733, 800-865-0165, and [email protected]

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]



Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)


* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]




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