A (Microsoft) Code Name a Day: Stirling

Stirling is the codename for Microsoft's next-gen version of its Forefront enterprise security products. Microsoft revealed the codename in the summer of 2007, but the deliverables aren't set to begin shipping until 2009.

I'm resuming my Microsoft Code Name a Day series that I started in December 2006. The goal: To provide the back story, each day in August, on one of Microsoft's myriad code names. Some of these code names might be familiar to Microsoft watchers; others (hopefully) will be brand-new.

Microsoft code names offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint. And not every product group is moving to boring, numbered codenames (like Windows 7 and Office 14).

Without further ado, let the codename games begin.

Microsoft code name of the day: Stirling

Microsoft code name of the day: Stirling

Best guess on what it is: The next version of Microsoft's Forefront suite of integrated enterprise security products

Meaning/context of the code name: Stirling is named for Stirling Castle in Scotland. Stirling Castle sits atop the Castle Hill, "a volcanic crag, and is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, making it easily defensible. This fact, and its strategic position, have made it an important fortification from the earliest times." Though both are situated in Scotland, Stirling seemingly has nothing to do with "Edinburgh," Microsoft's ResponsePoint small-business phone system.

Back story: In 2006, Microsoft rebranded a number of products in its security portfolio (ISA, Antigen Antivirus and anti-spam solution and others) as "Forefront." In June 2007, company officials said it had started work on the next-generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access solutions, plus a new, unified management console for these products. This group of offerings is known as Stirling. Stirling products will be tightly integrated with one another, as well as with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center.

Additional info: A private Customer Technology Preview (CTP) test phase for Stirling is set to begin in the second half of 2007, followed by a public beta in the first half of 2008. Stirling isn't expected to launch until the first half of 2009, according to information on Microsoft's partner site.

Got a Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page. You can also check out this video-whiteboard I did recently on Microsoft codenames.