Software titan Microsoft is taking a significant step toward
appeasing the open source community by integrating its .NET
Framework into the Apache Web server, the world's most popular
back-end software for serving up Web pages.
Although Microsoft isn't working directly with the Apache
Software Foundation, the Redmond, WA, company has announced a deal
with Covalent Technologies, a San Francisco-based consulting firm
that specializes in Apache implementations throughout the
enterprise. Under the deal, the companies announced that Apache
2.0, as available in Covalent's Enterprise Ready Server, is now
compatible with Microsoft ASP.NET -- a server-side, object-oriented
programming tool that is an integral part of Microsoft's .NET
For Microsoft, the announcement, which was made at an open
source developer conference in San Diego hosted by O'Reilly,
demonstrates how important Web services (and, hence, its
much-touted .NET Framework) has become. Supporting Apache flies
directly in the face of its own Internet Information Server, or
IIS, development efforts. But Microsoft still wants developers to
adopt ASP.NET code even if it means allowing them to turn to Apache
at the expense of IIS.
"It's a sign that ASP.NET is just that important to them," said
Jim Zemlin, vice president of marketing at Covalent.
Traditionally, the operations side of an IT department has
relied heavily on Apache as opposed to IIS because of its greater
security. However, with the February release of Visual Studio .NET,
IT developers have increasingly been creating programs that
obligated their operations counterparts to use IIS. That is, until
The combination of ASP.NET, Covalent's Apache product, and
Windows 2000 provides a strong enterprise solution allowing
development and operations groups to independently utilize
technologies that meet their needs, Covalent said in its prepared
The news comes a day after Microsoft promised to integrate .NET
applications with Oracle databases. But Wednesday's Apache
announcement is the strongest signal to date that Microsoft is
trying to abide by its promise to promote cross-platform
"It's good to hear Microsoft is going to work with [Apache],
they have told us that cross-platform integration is big," said Jay
Pitzer, vice president of sales and marketing at NetEdge Software,
a Wake Forest, N.C.-based consulting firm that uses .NET
extensively for systems integration.
As for undermining Microsoft's own proprietary Web server
software that also announced today along with its final preview
version of its .NET Server, Pitzer explained that Microsoft is
simply realizing that is the cost of doing business.
"They realize that the world doesn't revolve around them. In the
big enterprise, there are so many different types of systems and
Microsoft has done a great job to provide a platform for multiple
platforms to engage each other."
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