Microsoft will replace its three products in the e-business area with one suite, which will probably sell at a reduced price. The suite, codenamed Jupiter, which will combine the features of BizTalk Server, Content Management Server and Commerce Server, will ship around the end of 2003, and replace all three of the servers on the market today. "The current products will be broken down into components and put into Jupiter," said Dave Wascha, product manager for the new programme. "We want to reduce the overlap and redundancy." Users want to have features unified around business processes, not products he said, and the suite will, like the Office suite before it, take previously separate functions and put them in one box. The functions of the three current products will be referred to under three headings -- Processes, Data and People, respectively. Because Microsoft is still a newcomer to this area, the product will emphasis interoperability with others in the area of EAI and B2B commerce, said Wascha. The aim is to produce something that makes it all a lot simpler, he said: "We want business process analysis to be as easy for analysts to use as Excel." The product will use the Business Process Engineering Language (BPEL) proposed by IBM, Microsoft and BEA as a standard. Among the redundant tools that Wascha wants to clear out is multiple workflow analysis tools: "We have four, in CMS, BizTalk, Exchange and Commerce Server." As well as being componentised, Jupiter will have APIs that can expose its parts as web services. Given this is a bid to expand into a new market, Microsoft will probably offer Jupiter on very enticing terms. "All current CMS, Commerce Server and BizTalk customers with maintenance agreements will get the full Jupiter suite automatically," said Wascha. "The price will not be the sum of the three current products -- it is more likely to be the average." This would imply a price of around $30,000 (£19,355) to $40,000 per server. The "Process" functions will be delivered first, as BizTalk 2002 (delivered in February) is replaced by Jupiter modules in the second half of 2003. The other two products will be replaced, and Jupiter completed, early in 2004. Until then, the Jupiter codename will be promoted by pictures of the planet Jupiter and its moons -- which amateur astronomers at the IT Forum said had errors such as including the moon Io twice. "Duplicating IO removes a single point of failure," quipped Wascha.
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