Microsoft yesterday unveiled a server for managing content on Web sites, the ninth and newest addition to its line of .Net Enterprise Servers.
Content Management Server 2001 lets IT managers turn over to end users the task of updating and publishing information to a Web site. The software also allows users to customise content for individuals.
Content management software has been sorely lacking from Microsoft's line-up, especially as a companion to its Commerce Server 2000, which is used to build and manage Web store fronts.
Microsoft's .Net Enterprise Server line also includes Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 and Mobile Information Server 2001, which was officially launched yesterday.
Microsoft acquired the technology from NCompass Labs on April 30. In March, NCompass announced integration between its Resolution 4.0 and Commerce Server 2000, another server in the .Net line. Microsoft obviously liked the combination so much it snapped up the company and its technology, which competes with similar products from such vendors as Vignette and Interwoven.
"This is not a Version 1 product," says Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the .Net Enterprise Servers. "There are active users of this software." Those users include the Associated Press, Fujitsu Systems Business of America, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott International, the Royal Canadian Mint, Texaco and Verizon Communications.
Flessner said Content Management server would become a key piece of Microsoft's application infrastructure offerings, which include messaging, collaboration and the SQL Server database.
Content Management server includes cluster support that is compatible with load balancing technology, such as Microsoft's Application Center 2000 server, which is used to support large Web sites. The server also has metatagging capabilities to facilitate personalisation of Web content, as well as site archiving so that end-users can view a Web site as it appeared on any past date in time. A versioning and revisioning feature lets users track changes to content, objects and code.
Content is stored on SQL Server 7.0 or 2000, and relies on Active Directory or NT domains to assign access rights to authors, editors and template developers.
"This server provides the ability to easily create content, send it into a workflow process and publish it to a Web site without having to go to IT. [Enterprise] business people become the owners of the data," says Dan Kogan, product manager for Content Management Server.
NCompass Resolution 4.0 is available today. Microsoft Content Management Server 2001 is expected to ship this fall. Customers who acquire NCompass Resolution 4.0 in the interim will receive product support and updates from Microsoft.