Microsoft Corp. has stepped up its efforts to work out the prelaunch kinks in a pair of its key Windows DNA components, releasing updated test versions of Host Integration Server 2000 and SQL Server 2000.

The latest Host Integration Server code is an update of the version released in February. The core product is essentially an upgraded and renamed release of the Microsoft SNA server.

The most significant feature of the 2000 version is that it allows users to choose which integration problem they want to solve from one server, according to Tad Parker, lead product manager for Host Integration Server 2000.

“We are different than traditional competitors because they focus on data integration, or tend to focus on transactional integration or network integration,” Parker said. “What we provide is all three.”

The updated beta release also allows bi-directional replication between both Oracle and Microsoft databases, Parker said. Those databases can be connected by LANs, WANs, or the Internet.

The Host Integration Server announcement was buttressed by the second beta release of Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

The newest version is Web-enabled, with support for XML, and also offers a new data-mining engine, Microsoft officials said.

“There were really three areas we were focusing on: making it Web-enabled, improving reliability and scalability, and providing faster time to market,” said Jeff Ressler, lead product manager for SQL Server.

However, Dan Sholler, a senior program director at Stamford, Connecticut-based Meta Group, explained that Microsoft had a long way to go to gain customers’ trust in regards to interoperability. He pointed out that Attachmate, Walker Richer and Quinn, and Computer Associates have all done better jobs with legacy systems, and boast loyal customer bases.

“One question is the ability of Microsoft to establish credit with that user community,” Sholler said.

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