Microsoft delays Forefront business security client six months

Summary:Microsoft's Forefront team is again delaying a piece of its next-generation "Stirling" suite of products. The next version of Microsoft's Forefront Client Security (FCS) product, Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, is now a second half 2010 deliverable.

Microsoft's Forefront team is again delaying a piece of its next-generation "Stirling" suite of products.

The next version of Microsoft's Forefront Client Security (FCS) product, Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, won't be shipping in the first half of 2010, as the team had been planning, according to an October 8 post on the Forefront Team Blog. Instead, the team is delaying the release until the second half of 2010 in order to change the underlying management technology.

Forefront officials are attributing the decision to delay to both tester feedback and industry trends. From the post:

"Based on customer feedback and market trends, we have made the strategic decision to build Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) on System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft’s solution to comprehensively assess, deploy, and update servers, clients, and devices.  This approach better aligns our customers’ client management and security infrastructure, helping simplify deployment and reduce costs."

Another result of the decision to align Forefront Endpoint with System Center is that the ForeFront Protection Manager -- a unified console designed to provide administrators with a single view of all the next-gen Forefront client and server releases -- will only manage the server-based Forefront products.

Microsoft officials said no other pieces of the Forefront Stirling release will be affected by the change announced today and will ship in either late 2009 or the first half as 2010, as Microsoft previously indicated. Here's Microsoft's full Forefront roadmap, which for now, doesn't include the new, later date for Forefront Endpoint 2010.

Microsoft is advising corporate customers who need a client for securing Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to use the V1 Forefront Client Security product. Microsoft added support for the Windows 7 client and WS2008 R2 releases to this product in August.

In April, Microsoft officials acknowledged plans to delay the Stirling release of the Forefront products by a number of months as a result of customers' interoperability requests and the decision to incorporate a Dynamic Signature Service. Because of that delay, Microsoft is now planning a phased launch of the various pieces of the suite. Some of the components of Forefront Stirling still are on track to ship before the end of 2009; many other pieces are now going to be shipping throughout 2010.

One of my readers who is a Forefront tester said he was surprised how late in the development cycle the Forefront team decided to make this change. He said he also worried that the decision to align with Configuration Manager could alienate some businesses that already are focusing their management strategies (and purchases) around System Center Operations Manager.

Any other Forefront testers or users have anything to say on these latest Forefront moves?

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Servers, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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