Microsoft will announce version 4.0 of Internet Information Server (IIS) at this week's Internet World show, in an upgrade designed to shoulder the company’s Web-application server load until Windows NT 5.0 is ready.
Internet Information Server 4.0 will be the centerpiece of the NT 4.0 Option Pack, a free product also to be unveiled at the New York show by Richard Tong, vice president of marketing at Microsoft’s Personal and Business Systems Group. It is slated to ship by year’s end.
The Option Pack will include Message Queue Server 1.0, Certificate Server 1.0, Index Server 2.0, Site Server Express, Internet Explorer 4.0, and remote-access services for virtual networking. By integrating with Transaction Server, IIS 4.0 will offer transaction support across multiple databases, and provide an architecture for managing component-based applications, according to Jonathan Perera, lead product manager.
Internet Information Server 4.0 also will include the Microsoft Management Console, process isolation that will keep bugs in an application from affecting everything on the server, and what Perera called "bandwidth throttling," which will let Internet service providers allocate server space based on tasks or demand.
It also will include browser-based administration tools.
Although a significant upgrade for Microsoft’s Web-application server, users said the improvements in IIS 4.0 will solve technological problems found in earlier versions, but won’t put it past other offerings, such as Unix-based products.
"Based on the NT track record as a whole, if it crashes all of the time, you are in trouble," said Daryl Williams, manager at Calaveras Internet. "Unix has been reliable, and it's built to do multifunctions. I'm leery of Microsoft."
Internet Information Server 4.0 will be available only through the NT 4.0 Option Pack, which went into beta testing in September. Microsoft hopes this package will tide users over until NT 5.0 ships after the first half of 1998.
"This is a set of things to enhance the NT 4.0 platform, kind of like a taste of what’s coming [with NT 5.0]," said Rob Enderle, a senior analyst at the Giga Information Group.
Pessimists predict NT 5.0 will not ship before 1999, but Enderle said the upgrade will see the light of day in the third quarter of 1998.
"There is incredible pressure to ship in [the third quarter], and the executive who announces the product should spend a good deal of time crafting his resume," Enderle said.
Laura Kujubu contributed to this article.