Ballmer eyes enterprise with new products

Ballmer eyes enterprise with new products

SAN FRANCISCO: If there is one thing Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, made clear at Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 launch event, it's that the new business software products from the company are a good fit for enterprise deployments.

Speaking at the launch of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006, Ballmer paid particular attention to highlighting product benchmarks and features, as well as Microsoft partners and customers that made a case for deploying the new software in large enterprise environments.

While Microsoft has had great success selling its business software into medium-sized companies, it has always faced more competition from various flavours of the Unix OS and rival software from Oracle, IBM and SAP in the enterprise.

With its new database, tools and integration server - products that have been as much as five years in the making - the company aims to dispel any notion that its business platform has security or scalability issues that should give enterprise customers pause.

"Everything we have done should help you reinforce that there is no mission-critical enterprise job of any form that you shouldn't feel confident running today on the Microsoft platform," Ballmer said.

He mentioned several customers including the London Stock Exchange, JetBlue Airways and the Australian Tax Office, that are running large applications that were built on Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 to prove the enterprise readiness of Microsoft's products.

"I feel like we have really crossed a chasm at people understanding this is a platform for mission-critical applications," he said. To promote his cause further, Microsoft's CEO introduced Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini, to direct attendees' attention to a series of high-end servers from hardware companies such as NEC, Dell and HP that were on display along the walls of the auditorium.

Ballmer also noted that Microsoft had used its growing security knowledge to improve SQL Server, Visual Studio and BizTalk Server to make them more suitable products for enterprise applications that require high levels of security.

In an example of new security features, Microsoft Visual Studio Group product manager, Prashant Sdridharan, showed in a demonstration how developers can use Visual Studio 2005 to find potential security holes in an application that may show up once it's deployed on a network.

This enabled them to fix applications before putting them in production, he said.

Sdridharan's demo also highlighted the processes and interfaces between the three new products that tie them together more closely than before.

This was part of Microsoft's aim to integrate all of its enterprise software more closely, Ballmer said.

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