Microsoft Corporation announced Wednesday that it had released its first product based on the Windows NT Embedded operating system, dubbed Windows for Express Networks 1.0. Designed as an OS for so-called server appliances, Windows for Express Networks will first show up in an Intel InBusiness device, which should start shipping soon. Microsoft and Intel hope to see this new type of device become popular in small businesses that need to network up to 25 PCs. Windows for Express Networks simplifies the installation of a network server by combining a Web-based setup routine with Windows NT. The new servers will also offer firewall-protected Internet access, file and printer sharing, fault tolerance, and disk mirroring capabilities.
"Windows for Express Networks enables small offices to easily and reliably access those networking features they need: file and print sharing and secure shared Internet access," says Windows Marketing vice president Deborah Willingham. "Microsoft is excited to deliver Windows for Express Networks, the first server appliance operating system to be based on Windows NT Embedded technology."
The move to server appliances is a late one for Microsoft, which is joining the ranks of established Linux-based players such as Snap and Cobalt Networks. But Microsoft and Intel feel that the ease of use and compatibility of Windows NT will enable Windows for Express Networks to grab a significant portion of the server appliance market.
"Intel is focused on delivering the key platforms and solutions that help small businesses join the Internet economy and enhance their e-business and communications efforts," said Brad Romney, general manager of Intel's Small Business Networking Operation. "Coupling the Intel InBusiness Small Office Network appliance with Microsoft Windows for Express Networks helps small businesses quickly and affordably realize the benefits of networked computing.