Ballmer Touts Interop With Sun, Trusted Computing Group

Windows Linux

At the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Wednesday said implementation of standards and specifications such as XML, WS-Management and TPM 1.2 will soon yield results. Within weeks, Ballmer and Sun CEO Scott McNealy will discuss the interoperability efforts of the two software giants and will detail enhancements planned for Windows Server 2003 R2 due later this year with Sun's Unix.

Microsoft demonstrated for the first time the results of ongoing work between the former rivals to use XML and the WS-management specification to enable Windows to interoperate remotely with Sun Solaris, without agents.

"We worked closely over the course of the last year on WS management in conjunction with Sun, Intel, BMC and Dell, and it's a much broader vision than we pursued before," said Ballmer. "The work we're doing with Sun is instrumental in enabling the scenario you saw across Windows systems and Solaris systems."

Microsoft also remains committed to providing tools to federate identities though Active Directory across all systems, including Solaris, Ballmer said. The industry still awaits delivery on products that incorporate support for the WS-Management and other Web service standards.

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Microsoft also said Wednesday it will make Longhorn's Network Access Protection technology compatible with the Trusted Computing Group's Trusted Network Connect (TNC) network security architecture and Trusted Platform Module 1.2.

Although Microsoft is not a member of the Trusted Computing Group -- a de facto security specifications group -- Ballmer claims the Redmond, Wash., company will ensure compatibility with TCG's platform, due later this year.

"In a secure domain, clients are coming in across the Internet or mobile devices and you need to quarantine those people before giving them access," said Ballmer. "Our network access protection technologies built into Longhorn will support standard specifications that come from the Trusted Computing Group. You need consistency in how you quarantine systems in your network."

In a meeting with CRN last week, Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin confirmed that Longhorn Windows client will include a new feature, called Windows Secure Startup, that uses the TPM 1.2 security specification backed by Intel and implemented in Dell servers. The feature will prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to data if a laptop is lost or stolen, Allchin said.

During his keynote at Microsoft's fourth annual management summit, Microsoft's CEO also pledged that the company will continue to support Linux virtual machines running on Virtual Server 2005 SP1. Microsoft also demonstrated Red Hat Linux Advanced Server 3 running as a virtual server on Window.

On the management side, Microsoft said it is tightly integrating its 2005 product lineup with MOM 2005 and ISV partner Vintela to enable better management of non-Windows products from Microsoft's management platforms. At the conference, Vintela, of Lindon Utah, announced availability of a preview version of Vintela Systems Monitor (VSM), which extends the capabilities of Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 to Unix, Linux and Mac OS X systems. VSM enables systems integrators to develop Management Packs for VSM, Vintela said.

While interoperability with non-Windows platforms is an important step, partners said enterprise customers continue to rely on established platforms for managing mixed IT environments.

"Customers that adopt those platforms have very mixed systems and MOM is the first point of entry as a monitoring solution that can report up to [IBM]Tivoli, [HP]OpenView or [CA]UniCenter," said Jeff Dimock, managing partner for the Infrastructure Practice of Intellinet, an Atlanta-based solution provider. "MOM is best-in-class monitoring for Windows, and nothing can beat it for custom Microsoft management."