Microsoft security becomes 'Forefront'

Microsoft brands its security portfolio Forefront to kick off the Tech Ed conference

Microsoft is formally branding its security portfolio "Forefront" during keynotes to kick off the Tech Ed 2006 conference in Boston Sunday.

The company also is set to unveil new partnerships and test releases of forthcoming products during the show's opening speeches by Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, and Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of Office marketing. Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's CTO, also is set to speak Sunday at the show.

The announcements at Tech Ed are aimed at delivering what Microsoft calls its "people-ready" vision for business, which critics see as little more than a marketing slogan. Microsoft executives, however, have said the plan means that going forward, the company's aim is provide software and services that will help link all of the people in a company more closely together.

"Forefront" will be the new umbrella brand for Microsoft's security portfolio, which includes Internet Security & Acceleration Server 2006, a new version of Microsoft's edge security gateway that provides network protection against Internet-based threats, and Antigen, Microsoft's enterprise antivirus and antispam software.

Microsoft's growing security portfolio also includes a service formerly called Microsoft Client Protection, which Microsoft also will rename at Tech Ed. The offering, now called Forefront Client Security, is designed to deliver antivirus protection across business desktops, laptops and server operating systems. The product is currently in an early beta release to testers.

Also at Tech Ed, the company will release the first beta of the newly renamed System Center Operations Manager, formerly Microsoft Operations Manager, and the first community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server Everywhere. System Center Operations Manager is Microsoft's network management software, while SQL Server Everywhere is a slimmed-down version of Microsoft's database for mobile and embedded applications.

Another CTP that show attendees can get their hands on is Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals, an add-on to Microsoft's developer collaboration environment that adds a database professional "role" to the tool. Visual Studio Team Edition allows multiple developers working on a development project to work according to their specific role. The tool already includes roles for developers, testers and architects.

Microsoft will reveal another add-on for developers, Visual Studio Tools for Office -- formerly code-named Cyprus -- at Tech Ed. The tools enable developers to build applications for the next version of Office, Office 2007, directly from within Visual Studio. The tools will be available free when Office 2007 ships, which Microsoft expects will be January 2007.

Capossela during his keynote will announce mid-July as a more specific date for beta 2 of Exchange Server 2007; the company previously said only that it would be available before September. The product itself is expected to be available either at the end of the year or in early 2007.

In the partnership arena, Microsoft will announce that eight hardware vendors have signed on to support Always On for SQL Server, a package of services for database availability, including mirroring and failover support. EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Network Appliance, NEC, and 3PAR all will provide storage hardware on which the services can be delivered.

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