Oliver Rist is gone, but his memory will live on, both in our hearts and in the databases of InfoWorld.com. While you may very well have read each and every Enterprise Windows column he wrote over the years, it's possible that you missed some of the great Windows-oriented product reviews and analyses the InfoWorld Test Center has done, many penned by Oliver.
Now, before we get to those, you're probably wondering who InfoWorld is enlisting to track the Big Red beast. Well, just as Microsoft has told us with Longhorn, we're afraid you'll just have to wait -- though we can assure you that, by next week, we'll have a new, brave soul who is willing to sacrifice his sanity to tracking all the happenings in Redmond.
And without further ado, here are the top eight Microsoft product tests and analyses InfoWorld's done in the past year:
1. Product: Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007
Score: Good, 7.4
Bottom line: SharePoint Server 2007 is a platform that offers amazing new potential to Microsoft Office users, and it does so without loads of new training for IT. However, the platform is so powerful that administrators will need to be careful when planning architecture and hardware distribution, as well as when and in what order they'll roll out certain features.
2. Product: Microsoft Office Groove Server
Score: Fair, 6.8
Bottom line: Office Groove Server 2007 is a platform meant to ease the IT burden of managing 100 or more Office Groove 2007 users. Covering management security and even file transfers as well as communication with back-end line-of-business apps via Web Services, this is one Office Server package that really doesn't need SharePoint.
3. Product: InfoPath 2007 and Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007
Score: Good, 7.3
Bottom line: InfoPath 2007 and SharePoint 2007 Enterprise or Forms Server 2007 have enough combined power to truly revolutionize how your company handles forms. From content to display capabilities, the duo handles it all, and it adds security and business intelligence to the mix as well.
4. Product: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006
Score: Excellent, 8.9
Bottom line: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 offers strong capabilities to all four key constituencies involved in EAI and b-to-b e-commerce: developers, business analysts, IT professionals, and business users. Although it runs only on Windows servers and requires two other Microsoft products, it can connect to and integrate with a wide variety of databases, Web services, and line-of-business applications.