June 7, 2005 1:12 PM PDT

Microsoft targets Apache Web server

ORLANDO, Fla.--Tired of playing second fiddle in Web hosting, Microsoft is revamping its server software in an attempt to snatch market share away from the popular Apache-Linux combination.

When the software giant releases Longhorn Server in 2007, it will introduce a re-architected edition of its Internet Information Services Web server, said Bob Muglia, senior vice president in charge of Windows Server development.

The changes will make IIS more modular, which will speed up performance for Web applications, he said at Microsoft's TechEd customer conference here.

"We're componentizing IIS so you can load just the pieces of the Web server that you really need," Muglia said. "In the process of doing that, we'll be supercompetitive to Apache."

The open-source Apache Web server, which is often run on Linux, is the most widely used Web server and frequently used to serve Web pages on public Internet sites.

Taking a page from Apache, Microsoft intends to introduce a "plug-in architecture" to run applications inside the Web server, Muglia added.

"Web (hosting), security and high-performance computing are the three areas where Linux has more strength," he said. "Clearly, the one we're weakest in is hosting."

To make Windows Server a more attractive option than Linux for security, Microsoft intends to bolster its software with policy-based administration tools to simplify the task of setting up virtual private networks and authenticating network access across several servers.

The company is also looking to adapt its existing antispyware software to its Windows Server and business customers, Muglia said.

He declined to detail packaging plans, but he said that these enhancements would not be worked into the R2 update of Windows Server 2003, which is due by the end of this year.

"Right now we've got an antispyware beta that's out and we're looking at how we can deliver that technology to the enterprise on a broader basis," he said. "The big difference is that enterprises need to manage things, whereas consumers manage themselves."

To combat Linux in the high-performance computing market, Microsoft next year will release its first product in that area, called Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition, Muglia said.


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Super everything
What is it with Microsoft executives using "super" and "enthused" all the time? Supercompetitive... Are they trying to dumb down what they're talking about to be more endearing to people who don't like them as a company? It just pains me to even hear those words. It's like the yuppie days are in a time capsule there or something.
Posted by jeromatron (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS is in love with power words
Look at their over use of innovative.

When you have nothing that is high quality, you have to hide it behind as many 50 cent words as possible.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
What they need to do
If they want to compete with Apache is port IIS to other operating
systems. You know, OSes that don't begin with the word Windows.
Such as Linux, OS X, Solaris.

Not gonna happen, and this change to IIS isn't going to interest
Posted by (38 comments )
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Microsoft is irrelevant more each year
The facts plainy show where MS is going with IIS, nowhere fast. Month after month, year after year they lose what little market share they had. See the Netcraft Web Survey Index at:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html</a>
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There are a few big draws to Apache and all its siblings(ie Tomcat, ect).

1. It is free.

2. You can change the source if you need to.

3. It is relatively secure, far more then any MS server.

4. It does not tie you to any OS. You can switch from OS to OS without having to change very much.

5. It is language agnostic. You can use just about any language, from scripting languages(php, perl) to full-fledged programming languages(C, Java). I am not sure if you can us MS only languages in apache products, but you would have to be insane and/or stupid to use them.

6. They have excellent support from many places and the documentation is excellent. Also, ease of use has greatly increased.

7. Did I mention that it is free?

So why does Microsoft think that any sane person would want to not only pay for server software, but inferior software? Even if by some miracle, it equalled apache in flexibility, performance and security(hard to type that without laughing), it will be far more expensive then apache. LAMP will rule the web server roost for some time. Even java servlets, which have a few advantages over traditional LAMP, didn't kill it off.

Even more funny is Microsofts attempt to get into the cluster market. Another disaster in the making.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
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Just a silly point...
Windows will never replace DOS. IE will never beat Netscape. Office will never win over WordPerfect. Nobody will ever really use Windows over Netware.

I'm sure the list goes on for companies that thought Microsoft would never hurt them. Microsoft may not win every battle it starts, but I would be willing to bet that this is one of those ones that people should take litely. I still don't understand why people underestimate Microsofts ability to sell Golden Crap. That company could sell salt water to a shark in the see and make them think they just got the best deal in the world.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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More true than silly
Microsoft has proved several times that it can take a "bad" product and revamp/rebadge/rewhatever it and suddenly it is the dominant product. IE, Windows, Word, Messenger were all quite average when they came out. Do not underestimate Microsoft.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
On, Second Thought...
Lets switch to Microsoft WEB-Services...


On, second thought...

Lets not go to Microsoft... It is a Silly-Place.

(Sorry, I had to say it before someone else did).
Posted by Raife (63 comments )
Link Flag
Why Is MS Trying To Dominate Mature Markets?
Why is MS trying to dominate mature market segments like web servers? Wouldn't their time and money be better spent trying to capture new markets? This seems like just another misguided obsession with trying to dominate every single market. As a result, they spread themselves too thin and do not excel at anything. Were they more focused years ago on issues like security, perhaps today they would have more penetration in the web server market than they do.

The one customer base that I think MS may be successful in capturing with a "new and improved" web server is the small and mid-sized business that wants to use Small Business Server. Smallish companies that have a limited IT staff may opt for a single solution from MS, even if it is not the best solution in total. Better PROVEN security will make this an easier sell.

Posted by Stating (869 comments )
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Why is Apple trying to compete with Windows?
Because they are both companies and they do what they do to ensure growth and survival. The more competition the better!
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Oddly, it could be FireFox.
More IIS means more (lame) IE-only websites which means less FireFox as well as less Apache. Besides, if you need IE to view sites, you need Windows to carry IE around... Oh, then you need MS-Office and .Net-whatever.

I don't think we should underestimate:
1. MS embarrassment at FireFox rapid marketshare gain
2. MS emabarrassment at the absolutely *pitiful* showing of IIS vs Apache
3. MS ability to generate code
4. MS ability to move product
5. MS ability to leverage one product's dominance of its niche into making a lame also-ran into the dominant presence in an adjacent niche.
Posted by fmcgowan (42 comments )
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The weakest
<i>"Web (hosting), security and high-performance computing are the
three areas where Linux has more strength," he said. "Clearly, the one we're weakest in is hosting."</i>

No, clearly the one MS is weakest is <b>high-performace computing (Clusters)</b>.
Posted by tuqui (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If I have a server, i want performance
I don't want my server to lose any CPU cycle on running antivirus stuff, anti-spyware, or a firewall that must protect is from OS vulnerabilities.

A server should spend all his time on nothing but the tasks it is installed for. In my opinion it shouldn't even spend any time on a GUI if it doesn't need one.

MS server doesn't fit in this requirement at all...
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Reply Link Flag
only a moron would run things other than the serving app on a server, that is why you have things like cisco firewalls. Why would you run anti-spyware or firewall software on IIS, other than secure-iis anyway?
Posted by testshoot (2 comments )
Link Flag
security is the number one reason IIS will never beat Apache
Come on? With IIS having basically no security it will never beat out IIS. What is this guy from MS on? I almost laughed at this story.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apache's biggest appeal
is that it's free, very power, there are a whole host of tutorials, and third party addons for increased functionality.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a joke.
Will be supercompetitive to Apache in 2007?
Apache is already established what IIS is trying to do by 2007.
And there is no guarantee that IIS will achieve whatever by 2007. 2009 or 2010 is more realistic time frame for Microsoft.
Don't you think so?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
FLOSS vs Windoze
Microsoft is peeing in its pants from the onslaught of FLOSS alternatives such as Apache, Linux, Firefox, MySQL and FLOSS stacks such as LAMP. Since they haven't yet figured out how to attack the open source threat, which is constantly moving, changing shapes and growing faster than ever, M$ execs are resorting to cheap rhetoric over working software to prove a point.

Supercompetitive by 2007 ? In your wildest dreams perhaps Microsoftie...
Posted by pythonhacker (71 comments )
Link Flag
pepsi vs coke
"The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents." Salvador Dali

Sure IIS is not the best or most stable, but they *are* trying. Whenever you are #1 in anything there will be people wanting to take away from it. Just because you are #1, does not mean you are the best either. This only means you will always be more vulnerable than anyone else because of high profile.

-Free is not free, Robert Heinlein said "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" in his book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". Somewhere, some how you have to pay for it. Either in hiring specialised technical people to run a command-line application in an OS that was made by programmers for programmers, not so much for clients.

-Those types of people (programmers in general) that are so overly vocal about taking side A or B are usually not the most dare I say, socially adept folks, so they are more likely to want to be left alone to do their jobs, and get a little peeved when they have to dumb-down information to the powers that be. Not every programmer is a loner living in their mother's basement, but usually just more technically savvy and resent having to justify themselves to people that can't fathom what it is they do. ie: I don't hassle my accountant or lawyer, I just let them do what I pay them for.

-Atleast in IIS, I can click a few buttons and the corporate clueless *think* they can learn how to use it via GUI. I run Apache and go command-line, and then all of the sudden, they fear what they do not know and think I hold too much power. They get the vision of a newspaper headline "Disgruntled Webmaster Takes Site Offline" I actually had a client last week tell me that the only reason [all] CEOs don't work on their company websites is because they are too busy, otherwise they'd all write the content on their sites. I asked him If he thought Bill Gates would actually write and approve all content on the MS site if he had just a few extra minutes everyday, without hesitation, he said yes. Clueless for sure, this is the root of corporate culture.

-Corporations (wrongly) fear mixed os networks. I used to love Linux, I tried to keep Debian, but I found myself ostrisized from my ENTIRE client base. I got my great little Cobalt booted many times from networks.

Finally the single most important thing in the debate:

-Accountability. IIS comes from a corporation that has share holders and paying customers. There is an expectation of support that comes with buying these applications. Apache is build it yourself, and depending on how well, if at all, the guy you replace documented the modules and what tweaks he made to his own personal preference when compiling the code, you are boned. You almost have to hire smarter people each time to get forensic and figure it all out.

So for IIS, I suggest better security, modularity, as with any revision of any software. Being #1, I understand it will be vulnerable.

For Apache, add a gui and better diagnostic tools.

And after all that you thought I was gonna get all MS fanboy on you ;)
Posted by testshoot (2 comments )
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